Colorado felony DUI bill HB 15-1043 has just taken another step towards becoming an official law in the state, as the Senate Judiciary committee unanimously passed this bill (in a 5 to 0 vote) just days ago.
While this bill has seemed to make some steady progress, getting through the House in a matter of months, it could now face some serious tests, as:
- It moves onto the Senate Finance committee and then to the Appropriations committee where it will likely face some critical analysis and potentially serious challenges
- A similar felony bill proposed last year ended up dying on the Senate floor due to various concerns, including the costs of enforcing the bill should it become law.
Brief Background on the CO Felony DUI Bill
Currently, Colorado is one of only a handful of states in the U.S. that does not give prosecutors the opportunity to file felony charges for DUI offenses – even for cases in which an alleged offender has several prior DUI convictions.
If this CO felony DUI bill is passed into law, however, it would provide for Class 4 felony charges to be filed for those who are facing fourth-time (or subsequent) DUI charges. In the event of conviction, this could mean that offenders would potentially face:
- Up to six years in prison
- Up to $500,000 in fines
- Additional penalties.
There has been significant public support for this bill, including from Gov. Hickenlooper himself who noted in his State of the State address this past January that passing a Colorado felony DUI bill was among his key priorities for the current term.
However, it may have been the testimony from victims and their families this past week that led to the unanimous passage of the bill in the Senate Judiciary committee.
Challenges May Be Just around the Corner…
Despite such momentum, however, opposition may soon bring this bill to a halt, as there have been significant concerns from major organizations – including the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar and the American Civil Liberties Union. Specifically, the concerns have been that this bill will not be an effective deterrent because it does little to address the issue of alcoholism that is so very often a factor for those with multiple DUI convictions.
Sen. John Cooke, R-Greeley, has tried to quell such concerns, however, noting:
[The court] 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… have been exhausted, do not appear likely to be successful if tried, or present an unacceptable risk to public safety.
So, what do you think? Do you think this Colorado felony DUI bill is needed and will be effective? Or do you think this bill may miss the mark as opponents have contended? Post your comments about this on our social media pages.
Broomfield DUI Attorney at The Datz Law Firm
Are you or someone you love facing DUI charges? 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 schedule an initial consultation with one of our lawyers today and learn more about your best defense options, 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.