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DUI in Denver Colorado Archives - Bendinelli Law Firm

Let’s Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day With No DUIs

By | Automobile Accident, Denver Personal Injury Attorney, Drunk or Impaired Driving, Hit-and-Run Crashes


st pats
St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and you’re probably making plans to meet up with friends for drinks and a lot of fun! There are many events that start the day off early with fun runs, parades and green beer. Synonymous with binge drinking, St. Patrick’s Day has become one to forget, or rather, blackout from. Binge drinking can cause a range of problems, but blacking out and not remembering the night is one of the most dangerous.

Blacking out while drunk means that you don’t remember what you did. It’s only when friends bring something up or show you a picture on their phone do you realize you have no memory of the night before. It may be fun to see yourself riding down a parking garage in a shopping cart, but you should be wondering what other kinds of things you did that night that weren’t recorded.

The way alcohol works in our system is it breaks down the communication of our amygdala and prefrontal cortex, the parts of the brain responsible for critical thinking and behavior. To put it simply, you are more likely to take risks or make poor decisions while you are drinking. Being blackout drunk means you won’t have any memory of those risks in the morning.

You may think it is probably better to not remember the stupid things you do while drunk, but what if you decide to get behind the wheel while drunk? You may hit a person or car and keep driving. You get arrested for a DUI and wake to find yourself in jail in the morning. Enjoying a few too many can mean you change your life forever – and probably not for the better.

In 2016, the Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies arrested 396 drivers suspected of being impaired over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Don’t be one of them this 2017.

Follow these suggestions to stay safe and enjoy the holiday weekend:

  • Nominate a designated driver

Having a friend or family member drive you from bar to bar instead of taking your own car could save your life or a night in jail.

  • Take Uber or Lyft

With ride sharing services readily available there is no reason to take your own car.

  • Call a Taxi

If the rate hikes are too high on Uber or Lyft consider calling an old-fashioned taxi to get you to the next bar or home safely.

  • Use Public Transportation

With the Denver area expanding the light rail to most metro areas there is no reason you can’t take the train or bus to your favorite drinking spot and come home the same way.

At the Bendinelli Law Firm, PC, we want to remind you not to drink and drive this St. Patrick’s Day. If you or a loved one have been hurt in a drunk driving accident, please contact us for a free consultation on your case.

 

 

photo credit: Godo-Godaj <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/13832715@N05/5535132666″>Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day-Tralee Co Kerry</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

No DUIs on Valentine’s Day!

By | Denver Personal Injury Attorney, Drunk or Impaired Driving, Motor Vehicle Safety

romanceLove is in the air and many of us will be heading to our favorite restaurant to celebrate Valentine’s Day with our special someone. These romantic dinners may involve wine, beer, or cocktails, as we gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes. What many of us do not realize is how easy it is to go from just enough, to one too many, and then get behind the wheel thinking we’re are okay to drive. Getting a DUI on Valentine’s Day is definitely not how you want to end this special celebration!

A common myth is if we consume only one drink per hour we’re still sober enough to drive. Though it may be possible (as we all metabolize alcohol differently), research suggests that this just isn’t true. Dr. Kenneth R. Warren explains:

“The average rate of alcohol metabolism is 100 milligrams of alcohol per kilogram of bodyweight per hour. For a typical 160-pound man, this would translate into 7 grams of alcohol in an hour. The so-called standard serving, a 12-ounce bottle of beer, is 14 grams of alcohol, so it would take two hours to fully metabolize it. For most people, if you drink one drink an hour, you’re going to become more and more impaired each hour.”

While one drink a hour may be the norm for many people, your body is likely not processing the alcohol as fast as you think, which could lead to disaster if you do not take the time to sober up.

Becoming sober isn’t as easy as it sounds either. As we begin to wrap up our Valentine’s dinner we may order a cup of coffee, thinking that it will help us sober up for the drive home. But, again this just doesn’t seem to be the case. In an interview with the BBC, Dr. Thomas Gould explains:

“The myth about coffee’s sobering powers is particularly important to debunk because the co-use of caffeine and alcohol could actually lead to poor decisions with disastrous outcomes. People who feel tired and intoxicated after consuming alcohol may be more likely to acknowledge that they are drunk. Conversely, people who have consumed both alcohol and caffeine may feel awake and competent enough to handle potentially-harmful situations, such as driving while intoxicated or placing themselves in dangerous social situations.”

Though coffee, or other caffeinated drinks, can make an impaired person feel more alert after consuming a few drinks, it isn’t helping your body metabolize the alcohol any faster.

If you are still unsure whether you can drive your sweetheart home, download CDOT’s R-U-Buzzed app. Just put in your body weight, sex, and how much you have had to drink and it will give you an estimated blood alcohol concentration and when you will become sober.

Don’t give the love of your life the gift of a DUI this Valentine’s Day. Go out and celebrate with your love, but remember to celebrate responsibly. If you are too drunk to drive then use RTD, call a taxi, or using a ride sharing service such as Uber or Lyft.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a DUI or DWI crash speak with one of our expect lawyers. Contact the Bendinelli Law Firm today for a free consultation.

Happy New Year! Drinking and Driving–It’s Not Worth It!

By | Automobile Accident, Denver Personal Injury Attorney, Drunk or Impaired Driving, Uncategorized, Winter Driving Safety

Blurred vision due to drunk drivingThe holidays are coming to a close and a new year just around the corner. As we head out to friend’s and family’s homes and company parties, there is the potential for winter weather road conditions, as well as drunk drivers – especially around New Year’s Eve. Though we may not be drinking at holiday parties, many people are, and the data shows it. Nationally, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s 2-3 times more people die in alcohol-related crashes than during other times of the year, 1,200 people will be killed, and there will be 25,000 people will be injured in traffic accidents related to alcohol.

In Colorado more than 26,000 people are arrested for DUI, and over 150 people are killed in alcohol-related traffic accidents each year. The fatalities due to impaired driving represent more than one third of traffic deaths in Colorado. These numbers are really horrifying, so how is Denver Metro law enforcement helping to keep roads safer?

In Colorado law enforcement agencies ran their annual, “The Heat is On” campaign from Nov. 18 – Nov. 28, with 97 agencies participating. The campaign is designed to help stop drivers that may be driving under the influence (DUI).  During this ten-day period officers arrested a total of 518 people who were suspected of DUI. This year there has been 177 fatalities due to impaired driving, a number likely to go up before the end of the year.

DUI Checkpoint-drunk driving

DUI Checkpoint

“The Heat is On,” will continue through December, with law enforcement agencies around Colorado creating sobriety checkpoints and increasing the number of officers on patrol to help spot and stop DUI drivers. To help you and your loved ones get home safely, you can download CDOT’s R-U-Buzzed app, a blood alcohol content calculator for Android and iPhone, nominate a designated driver before you go out to parties, use the RTD system free starting at 7pm, or plan to use a ride sharing services like Uber or Lyft.

If you or your loved ones have been hurt in a motor vehicle crash in Colorado involving a drunk or drugged driver, during the holidays, or any other time of year, contact the Bendinelli Law Firm for a free and confidential consultation.

Denver Personal Injury Attorney, DUI Accident Attorney Denver

Drunk Driving in Denver, Colorado – How Serious is it?

By | Automobile Accident, Denver Personal Injury Attorney, Drunk or Impaired Driving

Auto accidents in Denver claimed 40 lives in 2013. 16 of the 40 deaths were attributed to drunk-driving collisions.

Clearly, all Denver residents should know best that drinking and driving is highly dangerous. Even so, many lives are lost in Denver year-in-year-out to drunk driving. Many more locals suffer critical injuries, with some being life-long, as some drivers fail to follow driving best practices.

4 Case Studies that Indicate the Reality of the Issue

Case Study 1

In august, 2013, a 38-year-old cyclist was hit head-on early one evening on a Friday on Lookout Mountain Road. According to Fox 31 Denver, the driver was a 20-year-old that reportedly crossed a double yellow line. Apparently, he was driving at a high speed rate.

The young driver faced several criminal charges including a homicide felony. The accident left friends and family of the victim mourning their dead loved one. The driver got 10 years in prison.

Case Study 2

A 50-year-old drunk driver hit a 17-year-old girl and her friend in September, 2014. According to the ABC 7 News in Denver, one of the girls died on the spot. The drunk driver was also texting when the accident occurred. The girl who survived the crash was still unable to walk, one year later.

The drunk driver who hit the girls had recently been sentenced to 28 years in prison as punishment.

Case Study 3

In another collision, a passenger in a Jeep that collided was pinned under the vehicle. According to CBS Denver, the drunk driver ramped into a concrete freeway support. His alcohol blood content read 0.163%. He was charged with DUI and vehicular homicide; offenses that would see him spend a maximum of six years in prison.

Case Study 4

A police officer got back to his vehicle along the I-25 Denver stretch after stopping a potential drunk driver. He was hit by a second drunk driver, while in his car. The driver was charged with vehicular assault.

The auto accident, according to ABC 7 News in Denver, involved four cars. The officer incurred serious injuries and ended up in hospital.

Statistics

In 2013, 142 people died, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as a result of drunken driving collisions in Colorado. 25 of those deaths were experienced in El Paso County. Denver County was ranked second with 16 accident deaths. These two counties account for more than a quarter of all the deaths experienced in Colorado in 2013.

We can not stress enough the importance of drivers not driving while drunk as one of the best driving practices to help curb DUI accidents in Colorado.

Denver Personal Injury Attorney

Many people suffer serious injuries or even death due to drunken driving accidents, a clear issue in the county. If you or a loved one have been injured by a drunk driver, Denver personal injury attorneys at the Bendinelli Law Firm can help you navigate your claim and get the treatment and justice you deserve.

Accident Lawyer in Denver, DUI Denver Colorado, Smoking Marijuana and Driving in Colorado

DUI – Is There Increased Use of Medical Marijuana by Colorado Drivers?

By | Automobile Accident, Denver Personal Injury Attorney, Drunk or Impaired Driving

Just like other plaintiffs, DUI victims have legal rights to protection and compensation for damages and injuries caused by auto accidents through the services of an accident lawyer in Denver. Moreover, criminal convictions can provide evidence of negligence in such cases.

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, there’s increased use of marijuana by Colorado drivers. In 2007, drivers who were suspected to be under the influence of drugs tested positive for marijuana. They made up 28% of all the suspected drivers. In 2008, the figure shot up to 43%, 45% in 2009 and 58% in 2010.

According to a local police, Sgt. Mike Bell, “What we’re seeing is an increase of, probably, marijuana use in the car. There’s a definite increase in drivers using medical marijuana as an excuse. However, they have nothing to do with the drug.”

Over 16% of all fatal auto accidents that took place in Colorado between 2007 and 2010 involved drivers under the influence of drugs. Drugged driving can lead to serious consequences on the highways and state streets in terms of fatalities.

These fatalities lead to serious spinal cord and brain injuries or even lifelong impacts on passengers, motorists and pedestrians.

Although the use of medical marijuana is legal, it can cause intoxication for those behind the wheel. Therefore, drivers under the influence of drugs must compensate victims for injuries, damages or even death caused in case of a fatality.

Drivers involved in crashes should look out for incoherent speech, red or glassy eyes or the smell of cannabis in other drivers as signs of drug use. Drivers that notice any of these signs should make notes for use when informing law enforcement officers or making statements.

Evidence of Drug Use by Colorado Drivers

Evidence of drugs and intoxication in the blood of drivers are two different things. Drivers who test positive for drugs upon suspicion of being intoxicated might have difficulties when it comes to blame evaluation. Employers usually test their injured professional drivers involved in crashes for drugs.

Even if a driver uses drugs off-job and wasn’t responsible for causing a fatality, he or she risks being fired and losing wages, if traces of drugs are found in the body system.

Accident Lawyer in Denver

Such drivers and other victims of auto or truck accidents can seek the services of an accident lawyer in Denver for rights protection and filing for compensation. The Bendinelli Law Firm offers complimentary consultations and our friendly staff are available to discuss the details of your case.

Denver Personal Injury Attorney, Commercial Trucking Accident Attorney, Truck Accident Lawyer

Commercial Trucking Accidents – Causes of Fatalities in Denver

By | Denver Personal Injury Attorney, Distracted Driving, Drunk or Impaired Driving, Semi-Truck Accidents

More than 330,000 commercial trucking accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), occur every year in the U.S. and these crashes result in thousands of death and injuries on a yearly basis.

Crashes involving commercial trucks like tractor trailers, semi trucks, box trucks, delivery vans or 18-wheelers, and small passenger vehicles usually see occupants of the latter vehicles sustain the worst kind of injuries in the accidents.

This is where a Denver truck accident attorney comes in to help victims navigate the legalities of filing a claim for the injuries or damages incurred.

Top 4 Causes of Commercial Accidents in Denver, Colorado

There are several causes of commercial trucking accidents, just like in the case of car crashes. Although truck drivers are usually at fault and the major cause of trucking fatalities, there are other factors that can lead to serious road crashes.

  1. DUI – is a major cause of road accidents. Drivers use stimulants to keep awake for prolonged periods on the road. Any mishap or error on the part of a truck driver under influence can easily cause a crash due to the heavy nature of commercial vehicles.
  1. Distraction – emailing, texting, chatting on social networks, surfing the internet, using the GPS device, drinking, eating, reading books, using a road map, changing music or even watching a DVD while driving can cause distraction. The moment of distraction is enough to cause an accident.
  1. Drowsiness – it is common for truck drivers to overstretch their load delivery goals or mileage to improve their pay scales. As a result, many truck drivers skip critical breaks to rest, forge log books and fail to get enough sleep for prolonged periods.

Fatigue is as good as drunk driving and can cause serious fatalities.

  1. Poor Maintenance of Vehicles – trucks, just like cars, require regular maintenance for optimal performance. Oil changes and maintenance services done on brakes and transmission systems are meant to keep vehicles in good working condition.

Failure to carry out such routine maintenance means vehicles can fail on the road. This can lead to serious fatal crashes.

Other Causes – defective engine components, poor road designs, faulty tires, poor weather conditions and other motorists failing to follow driving best practices can also cause fatalities.

Denver Truck Accident Attorney

All victims of car or commercial trucking accidents have legal rights and insurance companies do not always act in your best interest. A Denver truck accident attorney can help protect the rights of accidents victims, helping file claim for injuries and damages caused. Contact the Bendinelli Law Firm for a complimentary consultation to discuss your case.

personal injury attorney denver, DUI

CDOT Launches New Campaign to Combat “Buzzed Driving”

By | Automobile Accident, Denver Personal Injury Attorney, Drunk or Impaired Driving

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), more than 26,000 people are arrested for drunk driving incidents in Colorado every year. Unfortunately, the drunk drivers police officers don’t catch are responsible for more than 150 fatal traffic crashes where alcohol played a key factor. By those numbers, drunk driving accounts for more than 30% of all traffic fatalities in Colorado.

While researching this alarming trend, CDOT discovered that males ages 21-35, a key DUI demographic, do not believe in “buzzed driving.” In short, they think it is acceptable to have “just a few drinks” before getting on the road, if they’re not visibly or noticeably impaired. What they don’t realize is that alcohol affects everyone differently, and any amount of intoxication is still against the law.

Last year during this time, CDOT launched a campaign called “A Few Can Still Be Dangerous,” to remind drivers that any and all impairment on the road can still affect a driver’s vision, judgement, and reaction time.

As part of the campaign, CDOT is encouraging drivers to use modern technology for additional safety options. For example, personal breathalyzers are now widely available, and some even attach directly to the driver’s smartphone. Last Labor Day weekend, CDOT employees hosted an event that allowed bar patrons to test their intoxication levels using these devices. They hoped the the event would encourage responsible alcohol use, and cut down on the number of Labor Day DUIs. The event attracted more than 3500 people. They also encouraged use of Uber and Lyft, ridesharing companies that are often more convenient than traditional cabs.

Unfortunately, warnings and education are not enough to deter repeat offenders, who often struggle with alcohol addiction. According to the Denver Post, one in three drivers arrested for DUI has a previous DUI arrest. In a state that has almost 30,000 drunk driving arrests every year, this can amount to 10,000 repeat offenders on the road at any given moment. In a three-year span, police re-arrested 5,679 people who had two or more DUI arrests, and 84 offenders had ten or more.

Is DUI a Felony in Colorado?

For many years, Colorado was one of the only four states that did not have a felony DUI offense. It was nearly impossible to ban repeat offenders from the road permanently. If the driver caused an accident, he or she would only be charged with a misdemeanor, even if the innocent victim was severely injured.

However, the Governor, John Hickenlooper, signed a felony DUI bill into law in 2015. The event took place in Wheat Ridge at Lifeloc Technologies, a manufacturing company. Family members and victims of DUI accidents, as well as law-makers who put pressure for stern action to be taken against DUI drivers, were present.
According to the Democrat, “The government world is measured in steps. You rarely get big change. However, this is a pretty big step.”

The law took effect later in August last year (2015) and makes drunk driving a felony. Every time a driver is charged for the fourth time for DUI, he faces up to 6 years behind bars as punishment. Previously, Colorado gave drivers misdemeanor charges with a maximum of one year imprisonment as punishment.

Although only a small fraction of the offenders will possibly get jailed for accidents that result from DUI, the increase in expenses incurred by prisons and judicial systems will see about $20 million spent in the first 3 years.

According to one of the people in attendance, who lost 3 family members in a drunken-driving accident, after the signing of the bill, “It is a bittersweet feeling. I feel like I’ve been putting off my need to grieve and I know that after today, it will hit me hard, knowing this is now over.”

Drunk drivers don’t just endanger their own lives, but also put everyone on the road at risk. If the driver has been warned repeatedly, their actions move from negligence to outright defiance of the law and complete disregard for the safety of others. In these cases, criminal laws may not be enough.

Personal Injury Attorney Denver

When criminal laws fall short, a Denver personal injury attorney can help you get justice. Civil lawsuits offer a crucial legal alternative for victims, allowing them to recoup losses, and hold reckless drivers personally accountable.

If you have lost a loved one to a drunk driver, or been seriously injured yourself, schedule a free consultation with Bendinelli Law Firm. Our experienced legal staff knows the law inside and out, and we can help you get justice while protecting future drivers from unnecessary pain and suffering.