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Fourth drunk driving convictions in Colorado now are felonies

Just after the beginning of the new year, Colorado legislators passed a bill requiring all defendants convicted of driving under the influence to spend a mandatory sentence behind bars or on work release. Effective August 9, defendants convicted of DUI will now have to spend at least 90 days locked up or, if eligible for work release, 100 days of service.

According to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) office in Colorado, a DUI is only considered to be a felony in certain instances. A drunk driving stop or crash that involves an aggravating circumstance, such as a child being in the vehicle at the time of the stop or someone being injured or killed as a result of the crash, may result in a felony charge.

Further, with the passing of this new law, it's now mandatory that anyone who has had three DUIs will be charged with a felony one the fourth time around.

The law is aimed at emphasizing to those who carelessly drive drunk thinking there are no consequences that there are indeed severe penalties for their actions.

A law that was expected to have a similar result was first passed in 2015, but because of loopholes that existed within it, judges were doling out varied sentences. In some cases, defendants could end up with jail time, just probation or simply community service.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it's estimated that the average first time DUI offender has previously driven drunk at least 80 times before they are caught.

If you've been charged with a felony drunk driving offense, it's important to know that it can greatly affect your ability to retain or land employment and other aspects of your life. Speaking with a Boulder felony DUI attorney can be an effective way to learn about strategies that may be utilized as a defense against the charges.

Source: ABC 7 Denver, "New DUI Law Takes Effect Wednesday," Dominic Garcia, Aug. 05, 2017

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