Felony DUI charges increase under Colorado's new law

Changing Colorado laws have recently led to higher arrest numbers for those suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. Nearly one hundred felony DUI charges are being filed every month, and the increased number of arrests is not all. The potential penalties of these felony DUIs are even stricter.

The new habitual drunk driving law took effect in August 2015, and since then, 1,177 felony DUI charges have been filed. Under this law, a driver must have been convicted on four or more prior drunk driving charges. Officials claim that the goal of this law is to deter drivers from climbing behind the wheel while intoxicated.

In one area of Colorado, approximately 100 of these felony charges have been filed and pursued since Aug. 2015. Of those, 15 defendants ended up being sentenced to prison time. There are still at least 70 cases in the same area that are in the process of going through court and could potentially face similar consequences if convicted. The number of fatal accidents involving a suspected drunk driver currently is somewhat lower than it was at the same time in 2015, which some take as an indication of the laws success.

A felony DUI charge is a serious matter that typically requires prompt attention from a defendant. Particularly with a class 4 felony under the habitual drunk driving law, Colorado defendants might have to contend with lengthy prison sentences and the lifelong impact of the charge showing up on their criminal records. Ultimately, most defendants choose to either fight the charges throughout the entire process of trial court proceedings or to negotiate a favorable plea deal with the prosecution.

Source: koaa.com, "Nearly 100 drivers per month charged under new felony DUI law", Andy Koen, Aug. 9, 2016

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