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Felony DUI laws lead to rising prison population

Laws that get tough on crimes that the public loves to hate are often relatively easy to get passed and build plenty of political goodwill for the public servants who author and support them. However, these types of laws can have unanticipated consequences that demand they be reconsidered. Here in Colorado, just such a law has reversed our statewide decline in prison occupancy.

A law passed in 2015 upped the ante for both alleged drunk drivers, their defenders and prosecutors throughout the state, making it possible for DUI accusations to be met with felony charges instead of misdemeanors. In less than two years, the law has lead to over 1,100 such cases resulting in felony DUI charges being filed.

Ultimately, this has lead to a prison population increase of about 500 individuals over the years that it has been active. This offers a strong contrast to the way that our prison population has been in a steep decline across other areas, especially since the legalization of recreational marijuana use. Throughout the country, drug-related convictions have stuffed our prisons to the brim, while Colorado has noted the benefits of fewer drug-related prison sentences.

If you have been charged with a DUI, it is vital that you have a strong defense. Without a strong defense, you are far more likely to see yourself become part of the trend of felony convictions for a drunk driving offense. A good defense can help ensure that your case is heard fairly and your rights remain protected, no matter what the other factors may be.

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