Anyone who has been charged with driving under the influence should understand the current DUI laws. State legislators have recently made a few changes to the DUI laws in Colorado, and it’s important to understand how these changes could affect your case. Here’s what you need to know according to John L. Buckley, a criminal defense lawyer in Denver:
2015 Changes to the DUI Law
Prior to 2015, DUI was never charged as a felony in the state of Colorado. But in 2015, Colorado passed a law that made a fourth DUI charge a felony. This meant someone who had three prior DUI convictions on his record would be charged with a felony if he was accused of driving under the influence for the fourth time. The law was initially established to ensure that fourth time offenders would be treated more harshly than first, second, and third time DUI offenders. However, the law did not work the way it was intended.
There was a loophole in the law that meant many fourth time offenders were treated more leniently than third time offenders. Whereas third time offenders were sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 60 days in jail, judges had complete control over how fourth time DUI offenders were sentenced. As a result, some fourth time offenders were spending no time in jail at all—even though third time offenders had to spend at least 60 days in jail.
2017 Changes to the DUI Law
State legislators set out to close this loophole so the law could work the way it was intended. In August of this year, the new law finally went into effect. Now, fourth time offenders must spend a minimum of 90 to 180 days in jail even if the judge decides to go easy on them and sentence them to probation. If the judge allows the defendant to participate in a work release program, the defendant still must spend a minimum of 120 days to 2 years behind bars. Learn more about the Colorado felony DUI offender law
The changes that went into effect this year ensure that fourth time offenders are not given lighter sentences than third time DUI offenders. However, it’s important to note that these changes only apply to DUI cases that were filed after the new law went into effect. If you were charged with DUI prior to August of this year, the old law still applies to your case, which means you could avoid jail time altogether even if it is your fourth DUI offense.
Regardless of whether it is your first or fourth DUI, it’s crucial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side. If you have been charged with DUI, get in touch with the Law Office of John Buckley as soon as possible. John L. Buckley can guide you through the legal process and defend your rights every step of the way. Contact John L. Buckley
as soon as possible to schedule a legal consultation regarding your DUI case.