Colorado has seen a dramatic rise in anger and venom towards those accused of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) over the course of 2009. The Denver Post and some cooperating District Attorneys offices throughout the state have been working hard to bring tougher DUI penalties to Colorado. The talk is starting to get tougher. Often times when someone is charged with DUI or DWAI and calls our office they have prior offenses. Their concern is usually the threat of jail time. A DUI or a DWAI with priors carries up to a year in jail and several counties throughout the state are moving towards a guarantee of significant jail time. However, people in tough positions can still find sympathetic judges who recognize that not all situations are the same. Judges will listen to the length of time between DUI’s, family situation, employment issues and other important things that are called “mitigation.” Having heard a defendant’s mitigation, some Judge’s will be more lenient when it is appropriate.
The current talk in the legislature should be troubling to anyone that has a situation like this currently. The talk is toughening mandatory minimums on DUI’s and DWAI’s with prior offenses. The talk is not only to increase the number of days one must serve if convicted but also to further tie Judge’s hands by forbidding In Home Detention, often called an ankle monitor, and even outlawing work release as well.
This issue doesn’t just affect individuals charged with DUI or DWAI. The issue of tying Judge’s hands with mandatory minimums and choice of venue for serving sentences is one that is increasingly pervading the criminal justice system. The Prosecution and the Special Interest Groups have made their voices heard. It is time for the defense community to do the same.
While we hope you benefit from the information we posted above, it is important to note that we always suggest you contact an attorney to advise you and walk you through the legal process so that you can achieve the best possible result.