A new bill that would, for the first time, make DUI in Colorado a felony has been passed unanimously by a House committee.
The would-be law, officially titled House Bill 1043, would make it a felony offense if a motorist racked up three DUI charges in a seven-year period, or four DUI charges ever. While not the first time the state legislature has attempted to reclassify DUI in Colorado as a felony, this new effort has picked up more momentum from supporters — and less opposition from critics — compared to earlier bills. This may, in part, be owed to recent incidents that saw new charges levied against allegedly repeat DUI motorists — for example, a Grand Junction man convicted of DUI in Colorado for the eighth time, and a Longmont man for his 12th.
As The Denver Post reports, a previous version of this kind of bill made its way to the state legislature last year, but was shot down by Democrats in the Senate Appropriations Committee over concerns of an associated increase in incarceration costs, as well as the bill's emphasis on "punishment over treatment." But with Republicans — who have historically supported a felony classification for driving under the influence — back in control of the Senate following last year's election, the source notes that this new bill's odds for passing are considerably higher.
Whether DUI in Colorado is changed to a felony or not, though, the facts remain that being charged with driving under the influence can still have accused drivers running the risk of paying steep fines, losing their license and even spending years in jail. Enlist an expert Colorado DUI attorney from The Orr Law Firm to help defend your case and mitigate this outcome.