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Felony DUIs in Colorado increasing prison populations

In 2015 in Colorado, a new law allowing for the prosecution of felony DUI cases went into effect. According to the state's judicial branch, that law has brought more than 1,100 new felony cases for driving under the influence into state courts.

What effect has this had on the prison population in Colorado? Over the last decade, three prisons have closed in the state. Additional closures were expected after new legislation has made it simpler for many parolees to remain out of prison even if they violated their release terms.

However, according to economists who recently briefed the state legislature, the new felony DUI law could increase the population in Colorado prisons over the next three years by 0.8 percent or about 448 people. While that's really a rather small increase when you consider that Colorado had around 20,000 in prison last summer, it is an increase when state prison populations have been declining quite sharply.

Sen. Kent Lambert (R-Colorado Springs) says the increase isn't enough to start rethinking how prisons are used in the state. Sen. Lambert is over the budget committee. Gov. John Hickenlooper commissioned a study that found that many areas of state prisons could be streamlined. In Centennial, Colorado, there is a 948-bed state prison that the study referred to as "a significant waste of a resource."

At The Foley Law Firm, we represent those charged with both felony and misdemeanor DUIs. The possible penalties are significant between the two charges and we understand the impact that a felony conviction can have on our clients' lives. If you are facing a felony DUI, it is important to begin to build your criminal defense as soon as possible. Our web pages on DUI have more information on how we can help.

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