Managing The Holidays

Perspectives from a Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney

Baby it’s cold outside. Well, at least it is here in Colorado, but even those in the sunny, southern parts of the country can’t deny that holiday season is here. And with it comes all the challenges of the holidays. In my criminal defense practice, January brings quite a few clients whose visit from Santa Claus was accompanied by criminal charges, for one reason or another (including adamant disagreements about the Baby It’s Cold Outside song). Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned – from clients and my own experience – for staying sane and safe this holiday season.

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Getting Ahead of Mental Health Issues during the Holidays

The number of people in the United States who suffer from mental health issues and depression is staggering. For those battling these issues or for those who love someone struggling, there is no escaping the day-to-day reality of living with these challenges. I see it all the time in my criminal defense practice. Unfortunately, this time of year can exacerbate feelings of depression.

Self-medicating with drugs and alcohol is a common strategy for coping with underlying mental health issues. And holiday parties are often the hottest game in town this time of year. The festive nature of these events can make it easy to get carried away and to fall back into habits like emotional drinking, binge drinking, and other problematic behaviors.

The holidays, for many, also bring lots of family. Even those who adore and get along well with their family members can find it challenging to manage so many people and plans at once. Where depression or mental health issues are at play, it can be just plain overwhelming. If you don’t manage the stress, it will manage you – and probably not in a good way. Be sure to prioritize your time so that you aren’t running around like a chicken without its head, trying to finish up last-minute prep. Most importantly, take time for yourself. Check out other strategies,┬áhere, for dealing with holiday drama in a productive way.

Staying Safe on the Roads

Holiday parties usually focus on … well … the party. Many office parties happen during the day, which means that people are drinking earlier than normal and then driving home from work potentially intoxicated. Family gatherings often involve alcohol, putting countless after-dinner drivers on the roads who are potentially intoxicated. The entire month of December through New Year’s Day seems like an ongoing holiday celebration: Kwanza, Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve. You get it; you’ve probably lived it these last few weeks!

DUIs/DWAIs are very common this time of year. Trust me, I’m not the only one who appreciates the connections between this time of year and increased rates of drinking and driving. Despite the cold weather in many places, the heat is on, as they say. And don’t rely on one of those bike shares or scooters to save you – Biking Under the Influence is a real thing. Also remember that many DUI/DWAI incidents don’t actually come about because of blatant intoxicated driving. Many of my DUI/DWAI clients were pulled over due to circumstances that had nothing to do with their driving, including BEING PARKED IN YOUR CAR WITH YOUR KEYS. But that doesn’t make their intoxication any less of a problem. Be smart, and be safe. A single drink can land you a DUI/DWAI charge and some serious trouble.

Happy Holidays (and call me in the New Year if you need)!

While this is a stressful time of year and that stress can result in some negative consequences, there are ways to stay safe and sane. If you take care of yourself first, you will do a much better job of caring for your friends and family this holiday season. But if things don’t turn out as you had planned, and you find yourself facing a new year with new legal issues, call me: (970) 670-0738. You can also email me at or just schedule an appointment directly on my website.