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Personal Colorado DUI tale instructive on myriad levels

Sometimes it takes a personal story to underscore the ramifications of a drunk driving arrest and charge in Colorado.

Such a tale recently surfaced and continues to play out in media outlets in Denver and across the state. The details surrounding the arrest of Colorado Rep. Dan Pabon (D-Denver) are obviously newsworthy, and we duly note them for readers, who we believe might find them instructive.

Pabon, who is the state House speaker pro tem, has noted for the press that he had a few beers -- four or five, to be specific -- last Thursday evening during an event held at the governor's mansion and thereafter while socializing with friends.

He was pulled over later that evening in downtown Denver by a police officer for an alleged improper turn. The officer stated that Pabon appeared to be intoxicated and failed a sobriety test. The results of a blood-alcohol test administered to the lawmaker are not yet available. Pabon is scheduled for arraignment in mid April.

The case is certainly noteworthy for its underscoring of the fact that any person, regardless of title or position, can run afoul of the law and face stringent criminal penalties for drinking and driving. Pabon's story is hardly unique, and many Colorado residents who inadvertently had one drink too many and subsequently faced a DUI charge can readily identify with it.

It is also ironic in a sense, given that Pabon -- as noted in one recent media account -- has been a "tough-on-crime" legislator who has put a strong personal thumb print on legislation that brought about Colorado's felony DUI law (please see our March 8 blog entry) and, more recently, a bill that would require some DUI offenders to face victim impact panels.

We will keep readers duly apprised of any material details that emerge in the matter.

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