Introduced in the state’s House of Representatives on February 1 and amended to appropriations with bipartisan support on February 21, House Bill 13-1214 could mean big changes in Colorado DUI law are on the way. Under the existing laws, a DUI is considered a misdemeanor unless it results in injuries or fatalities. This differs sharply from the policies of most other states where repeat offenders can be given felony convictions for incidents that don’t result in any harm.
However, the bill’s sponsor Rep. Mark Waller hopes that this bill will change this reality. If passed, HB 1214 would impose felony convictions on state residents who were convicted of three DUI or DWAI convictions in a seven year period. The law would also make a fourth lifetime conviction an automatic felony.
“It is understandable that a person in their 20s may have a lapse in judgment and later in life may mess up again, but it needs to be known that this is a serious issue and that repeat offenses will not be tolerated,” Waller said in a statement, according to KKTV, a southern Colorado TV news source. “People’s lives are changed every day by the decision to drive drunk and offenders must be held accountable for their actions, regardless of whether someone is hurt or not.”
KKTV also spoke to local legal professionals regarding the proposed law, who indicated it could help the state better track and discourage repeat DUI offenders. Further, the report indicated that state residents may enthusiastically support the bill.
Annalicia Miller, a Colorado woman interviewed by the source, voiced her support by saying, “if you haven’t learned your lesson the first time, you’re endangering people’s lives.”
In the event that the current DUI and DWAI laws change however, one important aspect of these cases won’t. Colorado residents who find themselves charged with a DUI or DWAI offense should know they can always turn to DUI lawyers for support and guidance on their legal concerns.