Stricter Laws in the Works for Repeat DUI Offenders
KREX News Room
COLORADO The Colorado State Senate is working on a bill that would increase the penalty for multiple time DUI offenders from a misdemeanor to a felony.
The House Appropriations Committee passed the bill with a unanimous vote this week, and will now bring the bill forward to the entire State Senate.
Colorado is one of five states that does not have a felony conviction for DUIs.
If this bill passes, individuals charged a third DUI or DWAI conviction in a seven year period would receive a felony.
Along with that, the fourth DUI or DWAI charge in an individual's life would result in a felony as well.
Grand Junction attorney Greg Remmenga feels the bill is well put together, and doesn't go over the line.
"A person who makes a mistake, doesn't injure somebody, and is driving with their ability impaired I don't believe should necessarily have the same consequences as if they had hurt somebody or if they were a repeat offender and this was a consistent behavior," said Remmenga.
Others feel that the bill is actually doing more harm then good.
"It's a felony conviction, but you get a less strict sentence than you would on a third DUI under the current law right now," said Stephen Laiche, Attorney. "On a third DUI, as the law is set right now, you're looking at a minimum 60 days jail or work release sentence. Under this statute, while it makes it a felony, it doesn't give you any minimum, mandatory sentences that you have to serve."
Either way, Remmenga feels more is needed to decrease drunk driving numbers.
"Whether it's a felony or a misdemeanor, it still comes down to enforcement and if we are going to hire more police officers to enforce this, or is society going to get together and say this really is a serious problem and we need to do something about it."