Earlier this month, Gov. Hickenlooper signed the Colorado felony DUI bill (HB 15-1043) into law. Here’s what you should know about this law and how it may impact you.
Important Facts about the New Colorado Felony DUI Law
1 – A fourth DUI charge can be filed as a Class 4 felony charge.
This means that, if a person has three prior DUI convictions and is charged with another drunk driving offense, the fourth charge will be a Class 4 felony that can be punishable (upon conviction) by:
- Up to 6 years in prison
- Up to $500,000 in fines
- Additional penalties.
Here, it’s crucial to note that DUI convictions acquired in states other than Colorado WILL count as priors for the sake of this law. So, if you had a previous DUI in California, as well as two others in Colorado, you will have three prior DUI convictions under the provisions this law.
Additionally, there is NO washout period in Colorado. So, even if your previous DUIs in Colorado happened 10 or 15 years ago, they can still count against you per this law as a prior.
2 – Although the law provides sentencing guidelines, judges will ultimately have the discretion to issue sentences they see fit for felony DUI convictions.
This is an interesting and important aspect of this law that was added during the legislature’s review process. In fact, this portion of the new Colorado felony DUI law was specifically included in an effort to appease critics who feared that increasing the DUI penalties for repeat offenders would do nothing to stop the cycle, as the underlying alcoholism/addiction issues would not be addressed.
Here’s what this provision of the Colorado felony DUI states:
[The judge] must determine that incarceration is the most suitable option given the facts and circumstances of the case, including the defendant’s willingness to participate in treatment. Additionally, the court shall consider whether all other reasonable and appropriate sanctions and responses to the violation that are available to the court have been exhausted, do not appear likely to be successful if tried, or present an unacceptable risk to public safety.
3 – At 12:01 am on Aug. 5, 2015, this law will go into effect in Colorado.
So, in less than two months, the new Colorado felony DUI law will be effective in the state. If you have two or more prior DUIs, being aware of this fact is crucial.
What do you think about the new Colorado felony DUI law? Do you think it will be an effective deterrent for repeat offenders in the state? Sound off on our Facebook & Google+ pages.
Broomfield DUI Attorney at The Datz Law Firm
Have you or a loved one been charged with a DUI? If so, an experienced Broomfield DUI attorney at The Datz Law Firm is ready to provide you with superior defense representation.
At The Datz Law Firm, we know how stressful and consuming serious legal problems can be. That’s why we’re here to help you resolve your legal issues, get through these challenging times and move forward into a brighter future.
To find out more about your best DUI defense options, let’s meet for an initial consult. To schedule this meeting with one of our esteemed lawyers, call us at (720) 256-2404, or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.
From our offices in Broomfield, we represent clients throughout the Denver metro area, as well as throughout Boulder County, Broomfield County, Jefferson County, Weld County, Adams County, Arapahoe County and Douglas County.