Lawmakers in Colorado are considering making major changes to the state’s DUI laws in effort to curb drunk driving.
The changes would specifically address the state’s current policy on multiple DUI convictions. Currently, drivers face misdemeanor charges for drunk driving no matter how many times they have been convicted in the past.
According to reports, lawmakers have introduced a bill that would make drunk driving a felony if it is a third DUI conviction in a seven-year period or fourth within a lifetime.
Those convicted of felony DUI could then face up to six years in prison. Currently under the law drunk drivers face up to a year in county jail unless they injure or kill someone in an accident.
The bill is sponsored by Republican Rep. Mark Waller of El Paso County, who says changing the laws would motivate repeat drunk drivers to get help before causing an accident.
The lawmaker presented a similar bill during last year’s legislative session but it failed after being opposed by lawmakers who said it would raise prison costs in the state by too much.
Colorado is one of only six states that charge drivers with a misdemeanor for drunk driving no matter how many times the driver has been convicted in the past.
In addition to facing criminal charges, Colorado drivers who are charged with multiple DUIs also face serious driver’s license penalties from the Department of Motor Vehicles, including long-term license revocations.
Drivers can also be qualified as a Persistent Drunk Driver (PDD), which results in an interlock restricted license for at least two years.
Source: CBS Denver, “State Lawmakers To Debate Tougher Penalties For DUI,” Feb. 7, 2014