However, according to Attorney Jay Tiftickjian, the new law will do little to reduce the state’s problem with habitual DUI offenders
DENVER, Aug. 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — A new law that aims to crack down on repeat drunk-driving offenders formally takes effect on August 9th, 2017. Under a recently enacted new law, a fourth-strike DUI offender can be charged with a Class IV felony, receive up to a six-year prison sentence and face $500,000 in fines. Now, a person convicted of a fourth or subsequent offense must serve at least 90 days in jail upon conviction.
“I applaud the state’s effort to make our roads safer. Stricter penalties, however, won’t necessarily keep drunk drivers off the road and alleviate the state’s DUI problem,” stated Jay Tiftickjian, founding attorney for Tiftickjian Law Firm, P.C.
Colorado is the 47th state to enact a felony DUI law. While the legislation is designed to curb drunk driving, Tiftickjian has stressed that there is no conclusive evidence that a felony DUI law actually deters repeat offenders. Other states that already have felony DUI laws have proven that, he added.
“In North Dakota, a state with felony DUI laws for repeat offenders, accidents have increased the most – over 50% from 2002-2012. In 2012, Texas and North Dakota – states with felony DUI laws for repeat offenders – had some of the highest alcohol-related DUI fatalities in the nation. Colorado was below the national average,” stated Tiftickjian. “We believe substance abuse and mental health are much more important strategies to combat repeat DUI offenders,” stated Tiftickjian.
Under Colorado’s new law, if a driver is found guilty of a fourth DUI, he or she will be considered a convicted felon and forced to serve:
- 90 to 180 days in jail with no time off for good behavior.
- 120 days to 2 years if serving a work release sentence.
- 48 to 120 hours of useful community service, which may not be suspended.
- Complete alcohol and drug driving safety education or treatment program at one’s own expense.
“We certainly believe that Colorado should do something to prevent repeat DUI offenders, but more incarceration is not the answer,” stated Tiftickjian. “The state needs to fund the mental health system, and revise the DUI education and therapy curriculum instead of funding prisons.”
Under Colorado’s felony DUI law, prior convictions for DUI, DWAI (driving while ability impaired), vehicular assault, and vehicular homicide all count toward the four-strike felony DUI threshold. For purposes of counting convictions, the law considers not only Colorado DUIs, but drunk driving or impaired driving convictions from any state in the country. To learn more about the new felony DUI law and what it means for Colorado residents, click here.
About Jay Tiftickjian
Tiftickjian Law Firm, P.C. is a Colorado law firm with a focus on DUI defense, drug related charges and major traffic offenses. Criminal defense attorney Jay Tiftickjian has written numerous books on DUI and drug law, and has been voted “Best DUI Lawyer” in Colorado by the state’s official bar journal every year since 2013. Visit us at: http://www.criminallawdenver.com/.