Determined to raise awareness to an old problem that shows no signs of improving, Tiftickjian Law Firm, P.C. has released an interactive map to easily pinpoint where the majority of DUI/DWAI arrests and felony charges occur. It's an alarming number. So far this year, 372 DUI-related crashes have resulted in serious injuries or fatalities, according to Colorado State Patrol. With two more months still left in 2017, this number is a two percent increase from the year before.
"It's my hope that when others look closely at this map, it will start a conversation on how we might combat DUI using alternative methods. Our current laws aren't working," stated Jay Tiftickjian, founding attorney for Tiftickjian Law Firm, P.C. "Funding our state's mental health system and revising the DUI education and therapy curriculum to fight DUI should be looked at more carefully."
According to the interactive map, drivers in Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake, and Summit Counties (the 5th Judicial District) are the most likely to find themselves in the hot seat for driving under the influence or while impaired. The district averages 8.78 arrests per 1,000 residents. Drivers in Pueblo County are the least likely to be arrested - with just 2.64 arrests per 1,000 residents of this county.
"The lower those numbers, obviously, the better. We want to see our roads safer, and we applaud the state's attempt to tackle this nationwide crisis. However, we must do more. Let's zero in on the problem and address it by thinking outside the box," stated Tiftickjian. "When you can easily visualize—with the aid of this map— where the problem is, we can work to correct it."
Below are the five Colorado judicial districts with the most DUI & DWAI court filings per capita in 2017:
5th Judicial District (Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake, and Summit Counties)
More than 100,000 people reside in these four counties. This district has had 884 DUI arrests in 2017, a rate of 8.8 per 1,000 residents. Over nearly a 10-year-period, this amounted to 10 arrests per 1,000 residents. From 2007 to 2016, the district averaged 970.4 DUI/DWAI court filings.
9th Judicial District (Garfield, Pitkin & Rio Blanco Counties)
More than 82,000 people reside in these three counties. This district has had 647 DUI arrests in 2017, a rate of 7.9 per 1,000 residents.
6th Judicial District (Archeleta, La Plata & San Juan Counties)
Nearly 68,000 people live in these three counties. This district has had 547 DUI arrests in 2017, a rate of 8 per 1,000 residents.
14th Judicial District (Grand, Moffat & Routt Counties)
Nearly 52,000 people live in these three counties. This district has had 392 arrests in 2017, a rate of 7.6 per 1,000 residents.
22nd Judicial District (Dolores and Montezuma Counties)
More than 28,000 people call these two counties home. This district has had 196 arrests in 2017, a rate of 7.0 per 1,000 residents.
In August of this year, Colorado took major steps to deter repeat offenders with its new fourth-strike Felony DUI law. For repeat offenders, this can result in up to a six-year prison sentence and as much as $500,000 in fines. The three offenses leading up to the fourth-strike felony charge can be comprised of both DUI or DWAI convictions.
"Unfortunately, preventing DUI/DWAI offenses is not as simple as filing felony charges against fourth-time offenders. Re-arrest rates for felons sent to prison are at about 40 percent," stated Tiftickjian. "Evidence shows that the true key to preventing DUI/DWAI recidivism is getting addicts appropriate intervention."
With the creation of this interactive map, Tiftickjian hopes it will prompt not only the state but local municipalities to take a different approach to curbing the problem. To view the interactive map, visit https://www.criminallawdenver.com/denver-dui-defense/