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What are the current laws for habitual DUI offenders in Colorado?

Stricter penalties for repeat drunk driving are the topic of many criminal and traffic discussions in Colorado. We recently discussed the legislation lawmakers proposed that would make drunk driving a felony for habitual offenders.

Lawmakers, advocates, lawyers and other concerned parties often throw around the term “habitual offender” without little explanation. Whom, exactly, does the law consider a habitual offender? Section 42-2-202 of the Colorado Revised Statues answers the question for us.

Under this law, a habitual offender is any driver convicted of three or more of the offenses listed below in a seven-year period, counting multiple offenses within 24-hours as a single conviction. This law applies to both residents and non-residents of Colorado.

  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Driving while ability impaired (DWAI)
  • Reckless driving
  • Driving on a revoked license
  • Vehicular assault and other traffic crimes resulting in serious injury or death
  • Hit-and-run accidents involving serious injury or death
  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Making a false statement in relation to motor vehicle laws

There are a couple notable exceptions. Certain moving violations are not included on the above list. However, any driver with 10 or more convictions for at least 4-point assessment moving violations within five years is a habitual offender. Any driver with 18 or more convictions for 3-point assessment or higher violations within five years is also a habitual offender.

Keeping traffic convictions off your record can help avoid circumstances in which you are considered a habitual offender. It is also prudent to appreciate traffic laws in other states in which you may drive. Even if lawmakers do not approve Colorado’s new measure, other states have very strict conditions.

Remember, paying the fine for any traffic violation is pleading guilty to the offense. You can contest traffic tickets with an attorney, often without having to appear in court.

Source: Westlaw C.R.S.A. § 42-2-202

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