St. Patrick's Day DUI cost according to Denver Police Dept.: $10,000 and maybe much more

Ah, St. Patrick's Day. A holiday dedicated to drinking. And drinking. And then, once you're done drinking, drinking some more. After which the real drinking begins.

So is the Denver Police Department in Full Alert Panic Mode on this fine, green morn? Not exactly. But they are prepared.

DPD public-information officer Sonny Jackson declines to say whether personnel are being shifted to the traffic division or foot patrol in booze-friendly areas in anticipation of this evening's revelry. However, he emphasizes that the department is putting a special focus on scoping out underage guzzlers -- not that of-age adults will be ignored.

"Our traffic unit will be ever-vigilant looking for people drinking and driving in LoDo, along the Colfax corridor, in South Denver," he says. "That's a big concern for us."

Moreover, he stresses that the DPD's job won't be over when dawn breaks tomorrow. "Ultimately, it's a long weekend," he points out, noting that the department expects St. Patrick's Day revelry to run through Sunday.

At the same time, however, Jackson feels that "people have gotten smarter" over his time in uniform about naming designated drivers and the like -- and one reason is the price tag if they get busted. "They realize a DUI can cost you $10,000 between all the classes and the insurance and the detox. It's a very expensive endeavor -- definitely not worth that extra beer."

That's especially true in the case of accidents. In Jackson's words, "If one person goes out drinking and driving and takes someone's life, that's one person too many."

So would the DPD prefer that people mark St. Patrick's Day by getting sozzled at home? In a word: no. "We do encourage people to go out and enjoy themselves," he says. "We just want them to do it in a responsible manner."

More from our Follow That Story archive: "David Dolan likely first-ever Colorado State Patrol trooper caught driving drunk on duty, spokesman says."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts