Colorado Springs cops crack down, lawmakers may make repeat DUI a felony

On March 30, a Colorado Springs man was arrested for DUI after crashing his vehicle into a glass storefront. A couple weeks earlier, the Colorado Springs Police Department arrested 41 drivers for DUI over the 2014 St. Patrick's Day weekend — a substantial increase over the 28 DUI arrests made during the same period last year.

Officers in and around Colorado Springs are enforcing drunk driving laws as heavily as they ever have. Now, a new bill that just advanced in the Colorado House of Representatives could leave you facing felony charges in the wake of a DUI arrest.

Bill Could Make A Third DUI Punishable With Two To Six Years In Prison

On April 10, House Bill 1036 advanced after unanimously passing in the House Appropriations Committee. If the measure ultimately becomes law, it would make repeat DUI convictions felony offenses.

As currently drafted, the bill makes a third DUI within seven years or a fourth DUI in a lifetime a felony charge. Currently, all DUI convictions in Colorado are misdemeanors.

Under the version of House Bill 1036 that recently advanced, these repeat DUI charges would be class 4 felonies. A class 4 felony carries a two- to six-year prison sentence. Lawmakers had considered drafting the bill to make repeat DUIs only class 5 felonies, which are punishable with a one- to three-year term of confinement, but ultimately they went with the harsher language.

Implementing House Bill 1036 would cost the state an estimated $27 million annually. If passed, the measure would take two years to be fully implemented.

Any Drunk Driving Charge Is A Serious Charge: Contact An Attorney If You Have Been Arrested

Even under current law, DUI penalties are severe in Colorado. If you are convicted of DUI, you could face jail time, fines, mandatory public service, loss of your driving privileges, court-ordered alcohol treatment and a number of collateral consequences outside the auspices of the criminal justice system such as increased insurance premiums.

It is uncertain whether House Bill 1036 will pass into law; a similar measure passed in the Colorado House in 2013, but stalled before it ever reached the Senate floor. Yet, even absent felony status, a DUI charge is a very serious matter.

You stand to lose a lot in a DUI case: your money, your driver's license, even your freedom. But, you do have a right to fight the charges against you, and with a good legal defense, you may be able to get charges reduced or dropped. Talk to a Colorado Springs DUI defense lawyer today if you have been accused of drunk driving.