Earlier this month, we shared with you a new, though familiar, development happening in the state legislature now. A new bill, that would seek to make three Colorado DUI offenses a felony, has started to pick up steam — and while similarly proposed legislation was blocked by Democrats in the past, proponents are hoping that will change this time around. The movement received an extra boost from Governor John Hickenlooper, who lent his support to the felony bill in his State of the State address this year.
"Colorado is one of only four states that does not have a felony DUI law," the governor said in his speech. "While we must continue to focus our efforts on anti-drunk driving measures like intervention, rehabilitation and active enforcement — adequate punishment is also needed."
As of now, state law only considers a DUI in Colorado as a felony if someone is hurt. Otherwise, repeated DUI offenses are all equally treated as misdemeanors. This notion has garnered widespread criticism from many, including Republican State Rep. Lori Saine and Democratic State Rep. Beth McCann, the bill's sponsors, who argue that habitual drunk drivers pose a safety risk to other motorists and pedestrians. If passed, the new bill would treat a Colorado DUI as a felony offense if there are three arrests within a seven-year period, or four in the driver's lifetime.
According to The Denver Post, the bipartisan bill would also make it an automatic felony if the driver was "caught driving drunk with a minor in the vehicle, or if they hurt someone or damaged property, or if they left the scene or if their blood alcohol content was greater than 0.15."
While it remains to be seen whether or not the bill will actually pass, what is known is that being charged with a DUI in Colorado right now already carries significant penalties, including fines, legal fees, a revoked driver's license and potentially time in jail. If you've been accused of driving under the influence and need an expert Colorado DUI attorney to defend your case, call The Orr Law Firm today.