The countdown continues, as just three states remain without felony DUI laws. With Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signing a bill creating the law here, the number dropped from four.
Starting on Aug. 5, if you have been convicted three times in the past of driving under the influence (DUI), driving while ability impaired (DWAI), vehicular assault or vehicular homicide, any new charge of DUI could be a felony. And the past offenses do not need to have taken place in Colorado; drunken driving convictions anywhere in the nation will be counted.
As we mentioned in previous blog posts about the felony DUI law, if you get a fourth conviction you could spend up to six years in prison and be fined up to $500,000. Something to keep in mind, however, about the new law: the felony designation is not mandatory. Judges will have discretion to determine if incarceration is the proper punishment on an individual basis.
In fact, the law specifically states that judges can consider “…the defendant’s willingness to participate in treatment” when considering sentencing possibilities. Courts will also look at any previous treatment attempts and attempt to determine what effect alcohol treatment might have on a particular person, media outlets report.
It’s clear that those charged with a fourth DUI will have more reason than most to get legal representation experienced in drunken driving defense. At Shazam Kianpour & Associates, P.C., we are proud of our record of defending Denver drivers and helping to minimize potential limits on their freedom and ability to drive. Please see our page titled “DUI: Why an attorney can make a difference” for more information about how we serve clients.