Now that the Colorado legislature has approved a felony DUI bill and sent it to the governor for his signature, we know that one day soon drivers will face severe sanctions if they violate the new law. About an hour north of Denver, a woman who was taken into custody recently might have faced felony charges if her arrest had come after the law was enacted.
The driving under the influence arrest in Longmont took place after an off-duty police officer spotted the woman in court, where she was appearing on an unrelated charge. He later reported that she appeared to be intoxicated. She apparently drove in her blue Toyota to a liquor store during a court recess; the off-duty Boulder officer contacted Longmont police, who then followed her.
While trailing the woman, the Longmont officer said he saw her car weaving and nearly hitting a curb. He also said the woman was speeding. After she was pulled over, the officer said she smelled of alcohol, had trouble speaking clearly and had “glassy” eyes. She declined to submit to a sobriety test and was taken into custody before she could return to court.
She has two previous DUI arrests in June of 2013 and September of last year. If those arrests resulted in conviction, it would make her eligible for felony charges in her most recent run-in with the police.
It is certainly possible, given the details from the brief news report, that the woman is struggling with serious alcohol abuse issues. In similar cases, an experienced DUI attorney can help a defendant take a proactive approach and encourage the client to seek treatment. The attorney can also negotiate with prosecutors on possible reduction of charges to enable the client to continue and complete successfully treatment while also taking responsibility for past mistakes.
Discuss your options with an attorney familiar with the law, the system and prosecutors.