The Colorado Legislative session ended earlier this month, and the State Senate failed to pass a bipartisan bill that could have upgraded repeated DUI’s from misdemeanors to felonies. Under the proposed bill, either a third DUI within a five year span or a fourth DUI within a 15 year span would be a class 4 felony, punishable by two to six years in prison and a fine of $2000 to $500,000. The change in the law would cost tax payers $1.6 million starting in 2016 due to increased costs of prosecution and imprisonment. Colorado is just one of four states that does not charge a felony for multiple DUI offenders.
The bill was quashed by Democrats in the Senate with all Republicans voting in favor of the bill. Republican Mark Waller took to social media to voice his frustration in the voting tweeting, “@jessie4CO (Sen. Ulibarri) kills felony DUI bill in [committee] owes explanation to families of 131 victims who lost lives in DUI accidents.” Senator Waller failed to state whether all of 131 deaths were the result of multiple DUI offenders or whether a prison sentence would have prevented those deaths. Senator Mary Hodge from Brighton backed up her no vote by stating, “I think more emphasis needs to be put on addressing the disease of alcoholism and not us locking people up.”
The bill was sponsored by Democrat Mike Johnston and Republican Steve King. Senator Johnston voiced his disapproval in the bill failing stating, “Right now, we keep a law on the books that says if you have eight or nine DUIs you can still walk after a short stint in jail. I’m not sure most Coloradans think this is a reasonable solution for a continuous problem.” It should be noted that in most jurisdictions in Colorado, a person convicted of a fourth DUI is usually sentenced to at least 9 months in jail and often one year; hardly a short stint. The bill will likely be reintroduced during next year’s legislative session.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI it’s imperative that you consult with an attorney who knows the laws in Colorado. The attorneys at Peter Loyd Weber and Associates are experienced DUI attorneys who understand how the laws of Colorado interact with court procedure in each jurisdiction. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your case at (720)863-7755.