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Denver felony DUI law allows judges discretion

Colorado is a state that is often willing to make bold legal moves that produce skepticism both within the state and without. While the notion of "controversial legislation" may immediately bring to mind Colorado's progressive legislation regarding the recreational use of certain substances, for many in the Centennial State, 2015 legislation concerning Felony DUI's is being called on re-evaluation.

Opponents of the legislation claim that it grants too much leniency to those convicted of felony DUI, by giving the judges who issue sentences unacceptable room to issue incarceration, or not, at their discretion. While opponents of the recent law do acknowledge that the law did bring Colorado in step with the majority of other states in the union by creating a felony DUI classification, they remain dissatisfied with the way in which the law is being implemented by many judges.

It seems that the progression from a misdemeanor classification to a felony for four or more DUI convictions for an individual is not enough to satisfy the law's opponents. Those who wish to revisit the law are primarily displeased that it allows a judge the ability to choose whether or not a felony DUI conviction result must result in some incarceration. A review by the Denver Post of 316 felony DUI cases found that of those, 25 resulted in no incarceration. Despite the fact that this represents a less-than 8 percent rate of non-incarceration, certain parties believe that even this is too high.

Each charge of a criminal activity is ultimately made against an individual person. Political rhetoric aside, it is very likely that those who find themselves charged with a crime, even those who have been charged multiple times in the same manner, would hope that the judge considering their case will see them as a person and not only a case file, and issue a judgment accordingly. Those who have been charged with a crime deserve an excellent defense, from an attorney who also sees them as people, not only as cases.

Source: The Denver Post, "Colorado’s new felony DUI law needs another look," Sep. 15, 2016

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