Just over a year ago, the new felony DUI law in Colorado went into effect. This has allowed authorities in the state to file Class 4 felony charges against any motorist who has at least three prior DUI convictions on their criminal record (regardless of whether those convictions occurred in another state and/or how long ago they were handed down).
Twelve months after this laws has been rolled out, here are some of the biggest impacts it has reportedly had to date:
- About 100 new felony DUI cases are being filed each month in the state – As of August 2016, 1,177 felony DUI charges had been filed in Colorado courts (according to the Colorado Judicial Branch). Although this represents just a fraction of the total number of DUI cases filed statewide each year, it does reveal how prosecutors in the state are focused on cracking down on motorists with multiple DUI offenses.
- Many of these cases are still pending – Interestingly, more than half of the felony DUI cases filed over the past year in Colorado have yet to be resolved. In fact, in Pikes Peak alone, about 70 percent of the felony DUI cases filed over the past 12 months are still pending. Some reasons for the high percentage of pending felony DUI cases include (but are not limited to):
- The court’s excessive caseloads, which may be pushing out hearing and trial dates for these cases
- Defendants missing court appearances
- Attorneys (defense lawyers and/or prosecutors) delaying court dates for these cases as they gather evidence, etc.
- Felony DUI convictions are not always resulting in prison time – In fact, to date, it seems as though the judges handling these cases are using their discretion to impose lesser penalties than prison time (like, for instance, work release programs or probation), based on the circumstances of the case (and a given defendant’s record). This effectively means that prison time (and heft fines/other harsh penalties) are not necessarily a foregone conclusion when felony DUI charges result in convictions.
- It is unclear whether the new law has been an effective deterrent – With one year of the new felony DUI law being effective on the books, it remains to be seen whether the possibility of felony charges (and associated penalties) is really preventing people with prior DUIs from impaired driving. Some experts suspect that it will take at least a few years to gauge how effective the felony DUI law is deterring impaired driving. As more news and updates regarding those findings becomes available, we’ll report the latest to you here in our blogs.
Contact a Boulder DUI Attorney at Peter Loyd Weber & Associates
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI in Adams County (or anywhere in Colorado), an experienced Boulder DUI attorney at Peter Loyd Weber & Associates is ready to immediately start defending you. Our primary concern is protecting your constitutional rights throughout the criminal process while helping you obtain the best possible outcome to your case.
To talk about your defense and how we can help you, call us today at (720) 863-7755 or email us using the contact form on this page. We offer complimentary consultations, and we take pride in always being available to our clients – 24 hours per day, 7 days per week – so that they have the personal attention their case deserves.
From our offices based in Northglenn, Broomfield and Boulder, we provide the strongest defense and highest quality legal services to our clients throughout Weld County, Adams County and the state of Colorado.