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Colorado law ensures a felony DUI conviction results in jail time

Most people in Colorado would expect a person with additional DUI convictions to receive harsher and mandatory jail time. Until recently, a law enacted in 2015 prevented judges from sentencing some defendants with habitual DUIs to a punishment that matched their offense. A new law was just enacted that corrected the previous unintended loophole. Persons with four or more offenses will now be charged with a felony DUI and could face harsh punishment upon conviction.

The 2015 law was designed to promote harsher sentencing to help reduce the number of people making the choice to drive under the influence. While the law ensured that any person convicted of four or more DUIs would be classified as a felon, it did not specify a mandatory prison time. It has since been discovered that at least 8 percent of felons convicted of DUIs in the last two years were not sentenced to any jail or prison time. Some second and third offenders were serving time in jail while some four-time offenders were not. 

The new law ensures that anyone convicted of a felony DUI will serve a minimum 90 to 180 days in jail. Community service and rehabilitation programs may also be required as well. A lengthy work release may also be used for sentencing. 

The changes in the Colorado law may be difficult to follow. Anyone who is currently charged with a felony DUI could benefit by speaking with an experienced attorney for guidance. Attorneys will be familiar with any changes to the current law, including levels of punishment for convictions. While a conviction may not always be able to be avoided, an experienced attorney will focus on achieving the best possible outcome for every defendant. 

Source:, "DUI will do you in, as Colorado cracks down with tougher sentencing", Randy Wyrick, July 8, 2017

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