Colorado bill would impose harsh penalties for multiple DUIs

In Colorado, the consequences for a driving under the influence conviction can be serious. If a recently proposed bill is passed into law, however, those penalties could become even more severe.

The proposed legislation - House Bill 1036 - recently passed through the Appropriations Committee in Colorado's House of Representatives with a unanimous vote. The Appropriations Committee approved the funding for the bill - approximately $27 million, in total.

The bill would change the penalties for those convicted of multiple driving under the influence offenses in Colorado. If an individual was convicted of three DUIs during a seven-year period or four DUIs during the course of his or her lifetime, he or she could be charged with a Class 4 felony.

If convicted of a Class 4 felony, an individual can be sentenced to between two to six years in prison. Some argued that the maximum penalty should be a Class 5 felony - which would reduce the prison sentence to between one and three years - but the argument was defeated.

Fight drunk driving charges in Colorado

Currently, a driving under the influence charge in Colorado can lead to a misdemeanor charge, regardless of the number of prior convictions. For those convicted of DUI in Colorado, the maximum jail sentence is one year, regardless of the number of prior DUI convictions on the individual's record. In addition to a jail sentence, those convicted of driving under the influence can be fined up to $1,500, depending on the number of prior offenses.

Those with drunk driving convictions may also have their driver's license suspended, for a certain amount of time, depending on whether it is the first offense or the individual has prior convictions.

In some cases, individuals convicted of driving under the influence in Colorado may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. For instance, if an individual is convicted of DUI with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 percent or above, he or she will be required to install the device. Ignition interlock devices require individuals to successfully complete a breath test before their vehicle will start.

If you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in Colorado, a conviction could have serious consequences. In such situations, it is a wise step to seek the counsel of a skilled criminal defense attorney, who can ensure a robust defense is made on your behalf.