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Colorado Repeat DUI Offenders may See Penalties Increase

Most driving under the influence cases receive very little attention in the media. While it may be a major event for the person being charged, the cases are generally not high-profile in the news and usually end up resolved in due time.

However, some DUIs do draw significant attention because of the circumstances surrounding the case. If someone is injured or killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver, there may be more reporting as the matter proceeds through the system.

A recent Colorado drunk-driving accident has led to an increased focus on the penalties that are currently in place for those who have multiple DUIs. The accident was caused by a man who had four prior DUI convictions.

As a result of the crash, officials are taking a second look at some of the penalties in place for repeat DUI offenders. For example, in Jefferson County, the district attorney will not offer plea deals to anyone arrested for DUI who was driving while his or her license was suspended.

Repeat DUI offenders already face some additional penalties, including increased jail time. However, those critical of these potential punishments feel that they need to be stronger - that is either more jail time, or increased time without a driver's license. In fact, other states have proposed laws that would revoke a driver's license after a third drunk-driving conviction.

Some officials have called for repeat DUI offenses to count as felonies. Colorado considers repeat DUI offenses to be misdemeanors. Only seven other states have similar rules in place. Lawmakers had considered stronger penalties in 2009, but decided against the changes because of cost concerns.

With the increased attention being focused on repeat offenders, legislators may once again be considering making some changes to the current penalties. If these changes are made, the consequences of each DUI conviction will become much more significant.

Source: TimesCall.com "DUI driver has long history of alcohol, traffic problems" Jessica Fender, July 15, 2012.

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