Cost of a D.U.I. exceeds dollar amount


Posted Thu, Nov 8, 2012

Makeshift memorial for Laura McDermott on the corner of Broadway and Cedar. (Photo by Leah Raaflaub)

Denver- On the early morning of Sunday, Sept. 23, Laura McDermott, 32, fell victim to a hit and run driver, loosing her life. McDermott was said to have been crossing the street at the intersection of South Broadway and Cedar Avenue, when a suspected drunk driver came speeding down Broadway, going over 60 miles per hour in the 30 mile per hour zone. McDermott was said to have been found 200 feet from where she was initially hit, and when brought to the hospital, was pronounced dead. The driver of the vehicle Dennis P. Esquibel, 25, now under arrest. He’s suspected of not stop after hitting McDermott.

Witnesses said the car was full of people and it was obvious they had been drinking. Gina Selby, manager of South Broadway bar, Adrift, said that “while they were driving down Broadway they had been throwing beer bottles out of the windows.”

“When somebody leaves a crime scene, it’s usually because the police are already after them, they’ve got a warrant out, they’ve got drugs on them, or they’ve been drinking and driving,” says Officer John Blea, of the Denver Police Department. Driving under the influence (D.U.I) is nothing new to Officer Blea, who himself alone, deals with roughly 500 D.U.I.’s a year.

A D.U.I. in Colorado, is having a blood alcohol content (B.A.C.) of .08 or higher. In fact, a B.A.C. within the range of .05-.08 can be considered driving while impaired (D.W.A.I.) and can still land someone in legal trouble. The history of D.U.I.’s in Colorado has changed drastically in recent years, penalties increasing annually.

“When I started, back in 1979, I remember the D.U.I. limit was a B.A.C. of .15 which is double what the limit is now,” Blea says. It comes as no surprise that the penalties have become harsher, as statistics have shown increases in D.U.I. incidents in recent years. The cost of a D.U.I. starts immediately, and continues to stain the years following.

Neighbor residents stop to visit Laura McDermott’s memorial. (Photo by LeahRaaflaub)

Results of a D.U.I. include, but are not limited to: detox fees, jail fines, court fines, cost of alcohol therapy and alcohol education classes, weekly monitored breathalyzers fines, drug testing fees, license reinstatement fees, cost of installing and monthly collaborations on interlock device (a alcohol monitoring machine connected to your vehicle), and the possible cost of a lawyer.

Although the monetary punishment is incredibly high, Blea explains that “there is a much bigger picture here.” The cost of a D.U.I. can come at a much higher price. As Officer Scheers of the Englewood Police Department puts it, “In addition to legal problems that come with a D.U.I., one should think about killing or injuring someone else due to the decision to get in that car and make a bad decision.”

Blea says that the worst part of his job is dealing with the accident scenes when drinking and driving is involved. “When someone is injured, whether to themselves, or to another, and sometimes the cases are fatal, that’s what gets me. That’s what I hate to see. When I simply pull someone over, and issue a D.U.I., but no one is hurt, I don’t loose any sleep over that.”

A D.U.I. in Colorado, is having a blood alcohol content (B.A.C.) of .08 or higher. (Photo by Leah)

Many people fall victim to the false trap that a D.U.I. cannot happen to them. Deano Negri, owner of Monaco and Tire Auto , 6625 E Evans Ave, and has carried interlock for the last four years servicing up to 300 clients a month. Negri says that “The most interesting thing I’ve found is the D.U.I.’s and D.W.A.I. affects all walks of life: rich, poor, young and old.”

“The negative consequences are not worth it. It’s a lot of money, a lot of time, and a lot of effort,” says Milo Galindo, an alcohol and drug counselor at Broadway Counseling Services.
Esquibel is looking at a class four felony and up to 12 years in prison. For Esquibel, the cost of this D.U.I. is irrelevant. There is a life that was taken and that is something that no amount of money can fix.

About Leah Raaflaub

My name is Leah Raaflaub, and I'm a junior here at Metro State. I graduated from Colorado State University with a bachelors in Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures with an emphasis in Spanish. I then decided to come here to Metro and get another bachelors in Broadcast Journalism. I'm currently a part of Met Report, which I love, and so far I'm loving the career path I've chosen!

View all posts by Leah Raaflaub

3 Responses to “Cost of a D.U.I. exceeds dollar amount”

  1. Stephen Young Says:

    I had no idea the limit used to be nearly twice what it is now. The chart you included was informative and useful, and the insights from the officer are very interesting. A somber, but good story.


  2. Alexander Pringle Says:

    I like the story, it informative. But I would like to see, of ways to be preimtive. Ways to have fun and not be dangerous.


  3. Spencer Hunt Says:

    Great Article Leah, its scary to think how many drunk drivers there are out on the road at any givern time. What worries me the most is that hit-n-run accident are up 200% in the last 5 years.


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