Pending Legislation in Colorado Multiple DUI Convictions Could be Elevated to a Class 5 Felony.
Currently in Colorado a conviction for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs is a misdemeanor offense, as long as there is no accident and/or injury. There is currently legislation being considering in Colorado to make a multiple offenses in a lifetime a class 5 felony.
The proposed bill would make a third DUI offense within seven years of two or more prior separate convictions for DUI/DWAI or DUI pre se convictions or a fourth DUI offense within a lifetime of three or more prior separate convictions for DUI/DWAI or DUI per se convictions punishable as a class five felony. Simple (no accident and/or injury) DUI convictions are charged as misdemeanors, regardless of the number of previous convictions. Most Colorado DUI lawyers will tell you, as the laws and sentences stand now, multiple DUI convictions equate to harsher punishments and consequences.
In addition to enhancing the crime to a felony, there could be changes in the sentencing structure of multiple DUI convictions. As many DUI Attorneys know, many courts in Colorado require alcohol monitoring and interlock as a term and condition of a multiple DUI offenses. The proposed bill would also make such terms mandatory, taking the discretion away from the trial judge. For more information regarding multiple DUI offense please click here.
A Class Five felony conviction could have additional consequence, such as a denial of the right to vote, own or possess a gun, job applications, and federal financial aid. A class five felony in Colorado carries with it a presumptive range of one to three years in prison. If the bill passes, a multiple offender would be a felon for the rest of his/her life. Colorado criminal defense attorney know that a DUI conviction cannot be sealed in the State of Colorado.
Deciding to punishing a crime as a felony or a misdemeanor is not an easy or obvious decision. First, felonies carry the threat of a prison sentence, while misdemeanor incarcerations are served in county jails. There could be additional costs to the state, through increased prison populations and parole services.
The debates on whether to make multiple DUI offenses a felony or to keep them as a misdemeanor have equal value. Most people, and this criminal law blogger and firm, agree that drinking and driving is dangerous. Drinking and driving accidents cause destruction and devastation to many families, individuals, and society at large. We, as a society, have an interest in preventing drinking and driving. Elevating something to a felony must be considered cautiously. In Colorado, Colorado DUI lawyers know that the existing DUI laws mean sever consequences for single DUI convictions. In addition the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles can, and in most instances do, issues administrative actions upon a DUI allegation. This commonly includes a license suspension and installation of the interlock devise prior to license reinstatement. Impart to public awareness, officer awareness, and harsh laws, drinking and driving arrest were down in Colorado, from 2010 to 2011 according to FBI crime statistics. The DUI attorney in me must say that this does not mean that each person arrested was charged with a crime nor does it mean that each arrested resulted in a guilty conviction.
Even if this new bill passes, it would not affect your current DUI allegation and/or conviction. In the past, bills introduced in Colorado to elevate multiple felony DUI convictions to misdemeanors have not passed. Colorado is one of only five states that does not elevate multiple DUI convictions to a felony.
Thank you for visiting our post on DUI legislation. If you have additional questions or to contact a Colorado DUI attorney, click here or call (303) 747-4686.
If you would like more information on the DUI lawyer, Laurie Schmidt, please click here.