With the passage of HB-17-1288, everyone convicted of felony DUI in Colorado will now have to go to jail. Governor John Hickenlooper signed the bill on June 6, 2017, and the law goes into effect on August 9, 2017. From that date forward, anyone who is convicted of a fourth or subsequent DUI will have to serve between 90 to 180 days in county jail with no time off for good behavior.
Loophole closed for repeat offenders
In 2015, Colorado created the new offense of felony DUI. That law classified a person’s fourth or subsequent conviction for DUI as a felony. But in writing the law, legislators inadvertently left out language that mandated jail time for those convicted of a fourth offense. That enabled about 8 percent of those convicted of felony DUI to avoid jail time.
After the passage of HB 17-1288, that loophole has now been closed. If you are convicted of felony DUI, you’ll serve at least 90 days in jail and possibly more.
Penalties for felony DUI are harsh
With each passing decade, penalties upon conviction for impaired driving seem to grow harsher in every state. Here’s what you are looking at if you are convicted of felony DUI in Colorado:
- Ninety to 180 days of mandatory jail time
- 120 days to two years of mandatory jail time if an alternative sentencing program exists in your county
- Up to six years in prison
- A fine of $2,000 to $500,000
- Forty-eight to 120 hours of community service
- Completion of a Level II alcohol and drugged driving safety program or treatment program
For the purposes of this law, these all count as convictions: DUI in Colorado or any other state, DWAI (driving while ability impaired), vehicular assault, and vehicular homicide.
Not every DUI arrest results in a conviction
A significant percentage of people who get arrested for DUI are not convicted. A single mistake made by a police officer during the stop, investigation, or testing procedure could result in a positive outcome. However, getting a DUI charge dismissed, reduced to a nonalcohol driving offense, or acquittal requires skilled and aggressive defense by an experienced attorney.
Whether you have been arrested for your first or fourth DUI, get legal help as soon as possible.