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Colorado Governor signs new, stricter felony DUI law

Passed by the House in April and the Senate in May, Governor John Hickenlooper signed HB 17-1288 into law on Tuesday -- making Colorado's already strict felony DUI laws even tougher.

Specifically, this bill will modify the penalties and probation conditions for those who commit a fourth or subsequent DUI, which is already a felony under current Colorado law. One of the key provisions included in this bill is a requirement that the court order one of the following as a condition of probation (if it decides to sentence an individual to probation):

  • Require the individual to serve a mandatory sentence of at least 90 day in the county jail, but not more than 180 days. The individual is also not eligible for a deduction in the sentence for good-time or trusty prisoner status, although he or she will receive credit for time served prior to the conviction; OR
  • Require the individual to serve a mandatory sentence of at least 120 days in the county jail, but not more than two years, through participation in an alternative sentencing program, but only if such programs exist in the relevant county and only for certain purposes, including continuing employment or attendance at an educational institution. Also, the individual is also not eligible for a deduction in the sentence for good-time or trusty prisoner status, although he or she will receive credit for time served prior to the conviction.

In addition, this new law states that if the court decides to sentence an individual to probation, then it, as a condition of this probation, shall:

  • Require the individual to complete at least 48 hours, but not more than 120 hours, of public service; AND
  • Require the individual, as a condition of probation, to complete a level II alcohol and drug driving safety education or treatment program, which will be done at the individual's own expense; AND
  • Consider requiring other conditions as may be permitted by law.

While this law isn't expected to actually go into effect until sometime in August, once it does, it will certainly impact the penalties doled out to those with multiple DUI offenses.

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