When traveling in the USA don’t drink and drive.
In Colorado, drinking and driving offenses are classified into two. The first one is classified as DWAI or Driving While Ability is Impaired, which means the blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of the driver being arrested is between the levels of 0.05 to 0.07. But, if the BAC reaches 0.08 or higher, the person will now be charged with DUI or Driving Under the Influence. Basically, the difference lies on how much alcohol is in the bloodstream when the driver was tested.
The Adverse Costs of Drunk Driving
In 2017 alone, more than 10,000 drivers in Colorado were arrested for DUI or Driving Under the Influence. Unfortunately, drunk driving can have serious consequences not just to the driver but also to his loved ones and everybody on the road. The adverse consequences start the moment that a person is arrested. This is why if you or your loved one has been arrested and charged with felony for DUI, the help of a criminal defense lawyer in Denver has to be sought. Statistics also show that more than 200 lost their lives due to alcohol-related road accidents. These facts fuel the heated topic on how drunk drivers be punished.
Severe Punishments Await Drunk Drivers
In 2013, a more severe set of penalties were imposed on certain types of DUI. Instead of just facing misdemeanor charges, drunk drivers will have to face punishment equivalent to a class 5 felony. But, after a year, legislators made a move on increasing the penalties to make repeat offenders be convicted of a class 4 felony.
In 2015, another law aimed at increasing sentence penalties for repeat DUI offenders was passed. In this law, repeat offenders would have to face increased sentencing penalties even when there’s no fatality and no injury occurred. However, this law also received negative feedback from many critics claiming that such law has several loopholes. One of these is the fact that many repeat DUI offenders did not find themselves being imprisoned at all. The 2015 law was passed with the aim of making repeat offenders be subjected to more severe consequences. However, with this law many offenders were found to be treated more leniently. Many believe that such loophole was brought about by the fact that such law also took into consideration the judicial discretion which also led to many inconsistencies in imposing penalties.
Fourth DUI Offense as a Class 4 Felony
Another felony DUI bill was approved and signed into law in 2017 which requires minimum sentencing for all drivers convicted with felony DUI. Individuals convicted will have to face 90-180 days of imprisonment once the judge declares that probation must be offered. On the other hand, those who fall into a work-release program will have to spend 120 days in jail.
Under the new law, a driver’s fourth offense of DUI, DWAI or DUI per se will now be considered as a class 4 felony. The driver faces a charge of class 4 felony if the current offense happened after having been convicted of three or more prior DUI cases. Any DUI-related offenses that the driver was previously convicted of either in Colorado or in any state anywhere in the U.S. will be counted as “priors”. There are five offenses considered as “priors” for a class 4 felony and these are DUI, DWAI, DUI per se, vehicular assault and vehicular homicide.
These changes to the law were aimed towards making sure that drivers convicted of felony would be able to serve jail time. Depending on the facts of the case, a driver convicted of a class 4 felony may also face a 2-6 year imprisonment, a fine will also be imposed which may range from $2,000 to $5,000. He may also be subject to mandatory parole for three years.
What to Do If You’re Arrested for Felony DUI
If it’s your fourth DUI offense, then make sure that you’re aware of the possible consequences that you may face as you go through the court system. Having a record of multiple DUIs will impact the current case that you now face. If you’ve been arrested for DUI for the fourth time, avoid making quick assumptions that yours is a lost cause. Generally, judges don’t look favorably to people who have been convicted with DUI. This is why you have to ask for help from an expert. Look for one that helps you gain a better understanding of the case filed against you.
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