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Colorado has new law: Felony now for fourth drunk driving charge

Colorado has raised the bar on DUIs. In June of last year, Colorado lawmakers enacted a bill to charge DUI offenders with a felony if they are on their fourth or subsequent offense. The new law is expected to be a deterrent for drunk drivers; it came about after a push from families who have been affected by repeat DUI offenders. Anyone who has already had three prior DUI convictions, as well as future drivers convicted over three times, will be charged with a felony if they have another DUI arrest.

In Colorado Springs, the first DUI offender to be sentenced under the new law is going to prison. The 53-year-old man has 10 DUI convictions under his belt. If the law had been in place previously, the last five DUI convictions may not have occurred. The man is now facing three years behind bars. While he didn't actually injure another person, he was involved in a DUI accident where he struck another car, making him a hazard on the roads.

This man is the first to be sentenced under the new law, but is certain not to be the last. There are a minimum of 40 or more cases currently pending in El Paso County alone. Other counties are also in the process of prosecuting a number of DUIs considered now to be felony cases.

Staying out of the driver's seat when drinking is always the safest and most responsible action, but we know that people do make mistakes. If you have been charged with a DUI, this is just one more reason, whether it is your first DUI offense or a subsequent offense, to get a good attorney and fight your charges. You do not want to have even one DUI offense on your record if you can help it. The consequences of having a DUI conviction can ruin your reputation, limit your job opportunities and put you in jeopardy of more severe charges should you have any subsequent convictions in the future.

Source: CBS Denver, "Man With 10 DUIs One Of The First To Sentenced Under New Felony DUI Law," Jan. 28, 2016

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