Repeat DUI offenders in Colorado may soon face tougher penalties

Due to a recent committee vote, drivers in Colorado who receive multiple DUIs may soon face felony charges instead of misdemeanor charges.

Lawmakers in Colorado recently advanced a bill that would cause drivers who receive their fourth DUI offense to face felony charges, states 9News. Colorado is currently just one out of five states in the country that only charges those convicted of driving under the influence multiple times with misdemeanor penalties.

Why The Decision Was Almost Postponed

According to 9News, about an hour before the hearing, the committee chairman announced that the event would be canceled. However, those who had traveled to Denver to testify protested the cancellation and the witnesses were allowed to speak. After several hours of testimonies, the members of the committee voted on this bill late in the evening.

This is not the first time a bill of this nature has been proposed to the Colorado legislature. For several years, republican representatives have tried to enhance the penalties multiple DUI offenders face. However, these attempts have ultimately failed because of concerns relating to the cost of elevating DUI charges and how these costs would affect both the judicial and prison system in the state.

DUI Penalties In Colorado

Although DUI offenders in Colorado who are convicted of drinking and driving multiple times do not currently face felony charges, the penalties associated with driving intoxicated are still severe. According to the Office of Legislative Legal Services, it is illegal for drivers to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content level at or above .08. Drivers who disobey this law for the:

  • First time may have their license suspended for a period of nine months and may also have to perform 48 to 96 hours of public service, pay a fine that is not less than $600, but does not exceed $1,000 and spend between five days to one year in jail
  • Second time may have to spend between 10 days and one year in jail, pay a fine that does not exceed $1,500 and perform anywhere from 48 to 120 hours of public service and may also have their license suspended for 12 months
  • Third time may have their license suspended for two years and may also be required to pay a fine of at least $600, but no more than $1,500, spend between 60 days and one year in jail and perform 48 to 120 hours of public service

Drivers in Colorado who are arrested for drinking and driving often worry about how a possible conviction could affect their finances, employment prospects and standing in their local community, regardless of whether it is their first DUI or their third. If you were recently arrested for intoxicated driving, speak with an attorney to find out how you can assert your legal rights.

Keywords: DUI, drunk driving, charges, arrest