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Colorado governor predicts felony DUI bill will one day pass

For now, the measure is dead. But Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper predicts that the felony DUI proposal will one day soon be revived, passed by the state legislature and signed by him into law.

As we previously noted in this space, the measure had significant bipartisan support before it recently died in the Senate Appropriations Committee on a 4 to 3 vote.

The bill was widely reported to propose a felony for those convicted of a third charge of drunken driving within a seven-year period, or for a fourth DUI at any point in their lives. But KUSA claimed over the weekend that the bill imposed felony charges for "a third DUI offense in five years or for five convictions in 15 years."

A conviction on the Class 4 felony would be punishable by a sentence of up to six years in a state prison.

"You have people who have gotten DUI after DUI," Hickenlooper said at a press conference following the close of the legislative session.  "At a certain point it should be a felony."

Various media outlets reported that the two biggest sticking points for those who voted against the measure in committee were the cost (about $21 million over the next three years) and the way it would cut repeat offenders off from treatment.

Denver's Sen. Pat Steadman said repeat offenders can in many cases be people struggling with alcoholism, a problem best dealt with in a treatment facility rather than behind prison walls.

For those facing a repeat DUI offense, a discussion with an experienced attorney can help clarify your best legal options.

Source: KUSA, "Another Year With No Felony DUI Law," Brandon Rittiman, May 10, 2014

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