As we shared with you last week, a newly proposed bill in the Colorado legislature looks to amend the state's lack of a DUI felony by mandating that any motorists charged with three DUIs in seven years — or four DUIs in their lifetime — would be charged with a Class 4 felony. The proposal garnered support from a number of lawmakers and residents within the community, who argue that felony offenses for drivers who rack up multiple DUI charges are long overdue. But not everyone is in complete support.
For District 12 Rep. Mike Foote, the new bill contains some of the same red flags as previously defeated versions of the proposal — not the least of which is a $20 to $30 million price tag for the necessary DUI corrections that would have to be taken out of other state services, like education or mental health treatment. And while Foote supports the idea of the bill, he tells the Longmont Times-Call that simply enacting harsher penalties for DUI offenders "should not be the end of the conversation."
Longmont's Public Safety Chief Mike Butler had similar reservations about the bill, acknowledging the need for a stronger response to repeated drunk driving offenders but noting that implementing new laws on top of old ones is "too simplistic and too reductionist" of a solution.
"I think it's more of a response to our need to take action and look like problem solvers rather than finding a sustainable solution to complex social issues," Butler tells the news source, adding that tougher punishments may not achieve their intended effect of curbing DUI instances, and that a real answer to the issue should include "community involvement outside of the criminal justice system."
Felony or not, being charged with a DUI in Colorado is a serious offense that could still have you looking at steep fines and incarceration. If you find yourself faced with these accusations, make sure to enlist the help of The Orr Law Firm for the expert legal counsel you deserve.