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Shocked and stirred to action

The Colorado man believed that when police showed up, he would be on familiar ground. They would go through arrest procedures that he knew by heart.

"Give me my ticket and let me get out of here," a Colorado Springs police officer remembers him saying, slurring the words and smelling of alcohol. She remembers, too, noticing that the man's eyes were bloodshot and watery. As he described to her what he believed would happen next in his DUI arrest, she listened. When he finished his recitation, she said, "Well, that's nice but the law has changed."

It's understandable that the man knew the previous DUI arrest routine by heart: he has 8 alcohol-related convictions. But the officer was correct. Colorado law has indeed changed and the man now faces much more than the usual drunk driving charge. If convicted under the felony DUI law that took effect last month, he could spend up to 6 years in state prison.

While incarceration is not mandated by the new law, there is little doubt that some people found guilty of the Class 4 felony will be spending time behind bars. They will also face the possibility of a fine of up to $500,000 with a fourth (or subsequent) DUI conviction.

Not everyone got the news of the change in law. The tough felony law came as "a complete shock" to the man, said the Colorado Springs officer.

According to a newspaper article, the man told a TV reporter that since the arrest he has stopped drinking and is "seeking treatment and help."

For those arrested for felony DUI, treatment is undoubtedly a wise health and behavior choice. It might also be what a defense attorney recommends as a first step toward sobriety and a way of avoiding the harshest elements of the new law. You can discuss your best options with a Denver lawyer experienced in protecting rights and freedoms.

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