While many Americans believe that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day, this is not accurate. The day actually commemorates an important battle between the French in the Mexican state of Puebla. It’s not even widely celebrated in Mexico, but many Americans use the day to celebrate with drinking and partying. Some civil and cultural centers also put on celebrations.
This past weekend, we also saw another festivity on May 4th–and no, not Star Wars Day, although, really, that, too. The Kentucky Derby is another festive day for many. Mint Julep anyone?
While this weekend represented a fun time to appreciate another culture and to celebrate one of the greatest horse races, such events often coincide with an increased number of arrests stemming from drinking and driving, doing drugs, or even violent encounters. Nicol Gersch Petterson Offices wants you to celebrate many future fun weekends, so we prepared a list of tips to stay safe below.
1. Be Aware of DUI Checkpoints
The Denver Police Department has historically increased patrols and checkpoints around Cinco de Mayo (and other holidays) to try to curb drinking and driving. It has even gone so far as to shut down busy areas due to reckless driving, street racing, and noise violations and imposed a curfew for juveniles. Other cities throughout Colorado may follow suit and establish checkpoints where they will be stopped and inspected for intoxication. Most police departments advertise the locations of these checkpoints before they are activated. Be prepared for this and avoid routes where you may encounter these.
Also, remember that having a BAC of 0.05 or above can result in a DUI charge. A DUI charge can also result if you have a THC level of five nanograms or more or if a law enforcement officer observes signs of impairment even if you have a lower THC level. Given that the officer on the street has no way to test for Marijuana, you can bet if you even smell of pot and seem just the tiniest bit off your game, you’re going into custody.
2. Celebrate, but Don’t Drink and Drive
If you’d like to have some margaritas, tequila or XXX, or a Mint Julep, plan your trip before you head to the bar or party. Have a designated driver who doesn’t want to drink or smoke come with you who is willing to get you home safely. Alternatively, use a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft. Local AAA clubs often offer “safe rides” during Cinco de Mayo and other holidays. Other attorneys may even also sponsor an Uber or Lyft for intoxicated people during the holiday seasons. Some organizations or bars even offer free cab rides home during the Cinco de Mayo holiday. When in doubt, just don’t drive.
3. Know the Laws Before Toking
Colorado law prohibits smoking, vaping or even eating marijuana or marijuana products in public. You are prohibited from using marijuana in these ways at these following locations:
- Federal land
- Amusement parks
- Common areas of apartment buildings or condos
If you’re in college or hanging around a younger crowd, remember that it’s illegal to buy marijuana if you are under 21, and it’s a felony to give someone under 21 marijuana. If over 21, you can only possess one ounce of marijuana. Avoid serious drug charges by following these laws.
4. Avoid Bar Fights
Drinking at a bar can carry its fair share of danger. I’ve seen more than one bar fight, let’s just say, and a friend of a friend was killed when a bar fight resulted in an aggrieved party coming back hours later with a weapon just this last weekend. When many people are drinking at the same time, an accidental nudge, making an inappropriate comment or hitting on someone else’s partner can quickly deteriorate into a bar fight. This can result in serious assault charges and criminal consequences. Stick to your group and try to avoid having any type of confrontation with other customers.
Get Help with Your Holiday Arrest
If you tried your best to avoid trouble this holiday weekend, but still landed behind bars, I’m here to help. I can discuss alternative solutions to your problem, such as recommending drug or alcohol treatment in an effort to address any underlying problem and avoid jail time. I will discuss your legal options with you, explain your rights and fight on your behalf. I can also work diligently to get your charges dismissed or have you acquitted based on lodging a customized criminal defense on your behalf. I want you to enjoy celebrating whatever you choose to celebrate while also staying safe and maintaining your freedom. Contact me today if you need help.
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