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DUI consequences severe in Colorado

Being stopped by police and arrested for drunk driving can be one of life's scariest and most humiliating experiences. Having a DUI on a criminal record can quickly harm job prospects and make it difficult to rent a car in the future. However, those who are accused of driving under the influence are always presumed innocent until proved guilty in a court of law in Colorado.

The consequences for driving while under the influence are especially severe if the alleged DUI accident led to death. Vehicular homicide that involves driving under the influence is deemed a Class 3 felony, so being convicted on this charge will result in being sentenced to four to 12 years in prison. In addition, fines totaling up to $750,000 can be expected. Such consequences are far stricter than those for vehicular homicide not involving driving under the influence or careless driving leading to death, although some surviving family members of DUI victims still feel that these sentences are not severe enough.

Vehicular homicide not involving driving under the influence is considered a Class 4 felony. Therefore, those who are convicted on this charge may be sentenced to two to six years behind prison bars. They will also face fines totaling up to a whopping $500,000. Meanwhile, a charge of careless driving that resulted in death, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor, may lead to a year behind bars if a conviction is secured. A fine of $1,000 can also be expected.

Before a conviction can be handed down in a case involving DUI, prosecutors in Colorado must prove each element of the pending charge. This burden is often challenging to meet. A chief area of focus for defense counsel is to scrutinize all of the evidence that the prosecution intends to present in support of the allegations.

Source: coloradoan.com, "Fatal crash sentences rarely feel strong enough for grieving families", Cassa Niedringhaus, March 20, 2017

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