Continuing from where we left off in 2015 Colorado Felony DUI Bill: A Look at the Costs & Opposition (Pt. 1), here, we will resume our discussion regarding the important features of this controversial bill that is currently advancing in the state legislature.
2015 Colorado Felony DUI Bill: The Costs
The projected costs of enforcing the 2015 Colorado felony DUI bill are between $4 million and $13.5 million annually, with the lion’s share of these expenses falling in the hands of the state. In fact, while the passage of the 2015 Colorado felony DUI bill will increase the costs of adjudication, by far, the most expensive aspect of this bill will lie in the incarceration costs.
Taking a look at how many people are repeat DUI offenders in Colorado each year, state records indicate that:
- About 31,000 DUI cases pass through the Colorado criminal justice system annually.
- Of these cases, about 10,000 are associated with people who have at least one prior DUI, and more than 5,000 of these cases involve people with at least three prior DUI arrests.
2015 Colorado Felony DUI Bill: The Opposition
While the substantial costs of the 2015 Colorado felony DUI bill have been one major point of contention that opponents to this bill have, there is another significant point that some have raised when arguing against this bill.
In particular, some are contending that intensifying the DUI charges and penalties for repeat offenders will ultimately be ineffective. The argument is that:
- Incarceration won’t properly address underlying issues with addiction and/or alcoholism, which are generally factors in cases of repeat DUI offenders.
- Options like rehabilitation, as well as interventions like checkpoints, would be more effective at addressing the issues associated with multiple DUI convictions.
Among the more prominent opponents of the 2015 Colorado felony DUI bill have been the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar.
Elucidating some of the points made by opponents to the 2015 Colorado felony DUI bill, Maureen Cain, a policy coordinator for the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, has explained:
We’re recommending that amendments come forward that would in fact require a new look at what we’re doing for intervention, increased availability of residential treatment… we just need to look at the whole picture and I hate that silver bullet, ‘oh yeah, we’re going to have a felony DUI, oh, we’ve taken care of it.’ Check the box. We’ve taken care of this problem, [but] it won’t take care of the problem unless we get real and we get honest about what we’re doing.
Adams County and Boulder DUI Attorney at Peter Loyd Weber & Associates
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