On June 1st, 2015, Governor John Hickenlooper signed Colorado’s new felony DUI bill into law. A DUI charge is triggered when drivers are found with .08 percent or more blood alcohol concentration. The prior law did not necessarily treat multiple DUIs any differently than the first DUI. Under the previous law, any new DUI, whether first or fourth, was considered a misdemeanor, unless some aggravating factor necessitated a higher charge. So, the new felony DUI law aims to deter would-be multiple offenders, by imposing much stricter penalties on those who have been convicted of multiple DUIs. The felony DUI law makes a fourth DUI conviction a felony, which is punishable by up to six years in prison. The new law took effect on August 5th, and prosecutors are now considering the state’s first felony DUI cases.
Law Enforcement Surprised by Fast Onset of Felony DUI cases
Area law enforcement officials expressed surprise at how quickly alleged felony DUI cases began appearing on their desks. In less than a month on the books, the new felony DUI law has seen two Denver men alleged of their fifth DUI charges. The City of Denver is not alone. Prosecutors in cities in nearby counties, such as Douglas, Arapaho, and Jefferson, have also seen felony DUI cases appear on their dockets. The felony DUI law enables prosecutors to seek harsher penalties and longer prison sentences. But, because the law does not require judges to impose the harsher penalties, a skilled attorney may be able to help reduce penalties under the new felony DUI law.
Any DUI Remains a Serious Charge
Although the new felony DUI makes a fourth DUI charge especially serious, any DUI accusation is a very serious matter. Consider that
- a first DUI conviction could give rise to one year in jail, up to $1,000 fine, and nine months license suspension;
- a second DUI conviction could give rise to one year in jail, up to $1,500 fine, and up to one year license suspension; and
- a third DUI conviction could give rise to one year in jail, up to $1,500 fine, and up to two years license suspension.
In addition to the penalties listed above, offenders who are under 21, who damage property or who injure people can face even stricter consequences. But judges do have some degree of discretion in issuing penalties and a knowledgeable attorney can help accused drivers make their best case.
Call an Experienced Colorado DUI Attorney Today If You Have Been Accused of a DUI
If you have been accused of a DUI, you may feel daunted, confused, and intimidated, but you do have rights. And a knowledgeable attorney can help you understand and protect your legal rights. The DUI attorneys at Denver’s Tiftickjian Law Firm are dedicated to helping individuals who have been accused of a DUI protect their rights and defend themselves. In order schedule a free case consultation with one of the Tiftickjian Law Firm’s diligent drunk driving attorneys, call today at (303) DUI-5280.