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Denver Criminal Lawyer Discusses Sentencing Under New DUI Law


May 24, 2017

In August of 2015, a new DUI law went into effect in the state of Colorado. The new law made it a felony to acquire a fourth driving under the influence charge in Colorado. Prior to the law, Colorado was one of a handful of states that did not charge DUI as a felony under any circumstances. The new law was put in place to ensure that repeat DUI offenders would be punished more harshly than first, second, or third time offenders. But according to Denver criminal lawyer John Buckley, that’s not exactly what is happening.

Before this law was passed, anyone who had three or more DUI charges on their records would receive at least 60 days in jail. This mandatory sentence still applies to those who have three DUI charges, but if someone has four or more charges, the new law states it is now up to the judge to determine whether that person should receive jail time or not. Why? Lawmakers intended for this law to put those who are repeat DUI offenders behind bars, but they faced opposition. The opposition was not happy that the law stated that a fourth DUI conviction could lead to up to six years behind bars because they felt this would be too expensive for the state. To appease those who did not support the law, they had to make compromises. As a result, the law states that if you are convicted of a fourth DUI, you may face up to six years behind bars, but there is no mandatory jail or prison sentence that must be imposed. This means that a defendant’s fate depends solely on how the judge decides to punish him for his fourth DUI conviction.

According to The Denver Post, some judges are choosing not to incarcerate fourth-time DUI offenders, while others are choosing to hand out harsh sentences. The newspaper found that one in 12 defendants facing their fourth DUI conviction received no jail time at all, while others faced lengthy sentences for committing the same crime.

Because of this law, if you are a third time DUI offender in Colorado, you will face a mandatory sentence of 60 days in jail. However, if you are convicted for a fourth time, you may receive a sentence that ranges from probation to lengthy jail time. Read how habitual drunken drivers’ sentences vary wildly under Colorado’s new felony DUI law.

Clearly, there needs to be some consistency so everyone who is facing a fourth DUI charge is treated fairly by the courts. But until change occurs, it’s important to know about this law and how it may complicate your case if you are a repeat DUI offender.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, whether this is your first or fourth charge, contact the Law Office of John Buckley. We work tirelessly to defend your rights and ensure you receive the best legal representation possible. Contact John L. Buckley as soon as possible to schedule a legal consultation regarding your case.