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Multiple DUIs won't automatically lead to a felony in Colorado

While the exact number of threshold convictions may differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, a lot of states have enacted legislation that automatically makes a multiple DUI a felony. It is something that has been considered in Colorado for the past couple of years, and for the second year in a row the measure has failed to pass.

The bill proposing to create tougher drunk driving laws by targeting repeat offenders was introduced last year by Rep. Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs. After Democratic Senate President John Morse announced that the votes simply weren’t there, the bill died. It was reintroduced this year, and this time it was killed in a party-line vote over budgetary concerns.

Joint Budget Committee member Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, said that a policy change of this magnitude requires a little more planning. Specifically, he said that “we need to build this into our budget. He went on to reference his non-monetary concern that alcoholism is a reason why some people might end up with multiple DUIs on their record. He noted his belief that prison isn’t the right place to treat this type of addiction.

Instead of making a fourth DUI in 15 year or third DUI in five years an automatic felony, the law will remain the same in Colorado for now. Although the bill failed to pass, this doesn’t mean that the penalties for multiple drunk driving offenses or even a single one aren’t serious.

DUIs are very serious, and those charged with one should know that they don’t have to simply accept the consequences. A Greeley criminal defense attorney can use the law to help fight for reduced penalties, reduced charges or even dismissal where possible.

Source: The Gazette, “Bill to make multiple Colorado DUI offenses a felony dies in committee,” Megan Schrader, May 8, 2014

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