Colorado Govenor Hickenlooper Signs New DUI Felony Into Law
Colorado drivers who drink and drive now have more of a reason to hand the keys to someone sober. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed a bill aimed at getting habitual DUI offenders off of the street.
The bill will make the fourth DUI a felony with up to six years in prison and fines as high as $500,000. Similar attempts to pass tougher DUI laws in Colorado have failed over concerns of increased costs for the state's judicial system.
Governor Hickenlooper commented,
We were one of four states that hadn't done this. Now there are only three."
Under current law, a person could potentially get an unlimited number of DUI convictions without a felony and only limited jail time.
Coloradoans can still challenge the law by filing a ballot question. If not challenged by August 5, the bill will become law.
While a felony conviction isn't mandatory, it's expected most habitual offenders will be sentenced under the felony law. The law would also take into account DUI convictions from other states, so the total convictions don't all have to be in Colorado.
The new law has a prevention clause that attempts to get DUI offenders off the streets by revoking their driver's license. A conditional license, including the installation of a breathalyzer interlock device installed in their auto for two to five years, is also an option for DUI offenders with less than four DUI convictions.
Judges presiding over DUI cases are also encouraged to require addiction treatment as part of the sentence.