In the majority of states across the country, drivers can face felony charges for multiple DUI offenses. In some areas, however, the implementation of increased charges and punishment for drunk driving may be a new situation. Therefore, parties who have previous DUI convictions may be interested in knowing how such changes in the law could affect them if they are so accused.
It was recently reported that the governor of Colorado has decided to sign a bill that would make the fourth drunk driving offense a felony level charge. Individuals who are in favor of this bill believe that it will help keep roadways safer as drivers may be deterred from consuming alcohol and driving, especially if they have been convicted of such actions in the past. Increased punishments may also help keep repeat offenders off the roadway by giving them prison sentences.
Nevertheless, a sentence for a criminal conviction is still determined by the judge in charge of each case. The punishment handed down should be one that is most appropriate to the circumstances under which the charges came about. The court will continue to have discretion in sentencing, though judges will have to consider a defendant’s willingness to enter treatment programs in determining whether prison is the option most suitable for that individual. Furthermore, this new law could still potentially be blocked by state voters if a ballot question initiated before Aug. 5 calls for a statewide referendum.
Because laws can change rapidly, it is important that individuals who have been accused of drunk driving understand their situations. If they have multiple convictions, they may want to concern themselves with whether they could potentially face felony charges. Should a Colorado driver be charged with DUI, he or she will likely benefit by exploring the available legal options.