Recently, Governor Hickenlooper signed a new law making it a felony to have a fourth driving under the influence (DUI) charge in Colorado. Colorado had previously been one of four states without a felony charge for DUI. Some key points of the law to consider:
Convictions from anywhere in the US can count towards your record.
- So, that old DUI conviction from 20 years ago in Wisconsin will count here in Colorado if you are charged a fourth time.
- If you have three prior convictions for DUI, DWAI, vehicular assault, and/or vehicular homicide— a simple DUI in Colorado could become a felony.
- This is not retroactive – so you are safe until August 5, 2015 when the law takes effect. Anyone with pending charges right now will not be “up-charged” to a felony.
Sentencing is still within the discretion of the court – so not all
felony DUIs will result in a prison sentence. While advocates wanted a
way to imprison the highest risk offenders, there is still discretion
for a judge to consider mitigation and allow for an alternative sentence
like Community Corrections or Probation.
- The law states that 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."
- The same section of the law also requires a finding that treatment appears unlikely to work or would present an "unacceptable risk to public safety" in order to impose felony punishment.
- DMV considerations: When repeat offenders have their drivers licenses revoked, they'll be required to get a conditional license requiring them to use and interlock device, which requires a breath test before allowing the car to start, for two to five years. Previously, this was a one-year requirement.
- If nobody files a petition against the measure by Aug. 5, it will become state law. If a petition is filed, the bill would become law unless a majority of voters decide against it.
If you have been charged with a DUI or other driving related offense, please give the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Feldmann Nagel Margulis LLC a call at 1-(888) 458-0991.