Close to 100 New Felony DUI Charges Filed Every Month in Colorado, Authorities Report

August 16, 2016

~100 New Felony DUI Charges Filed Every Month in Colorado, Authorities Report

~100 New Felony DUI Charges Filed Every Month in Colorado, Authorities Report

More than one year after the felony DUI law has taken effect in Colorado, authorities across the state have reportedly filed nearly 1,200 felony DUI charges to date.1

This averages to nearly 100 new felony DUI charges being filed by Colorado prosecutors every month, a fact that is becoming very concerning to law enforcement officials. Specifically, authorities are now worried that the felony DUI law is not having the deterrent effects lawmakers had expected – and that motorists are not aware that a fourth DUI arrest can result in them facing felony DUI charges in Colorado.

Brief Background on Colorado Felony DUI Charges

Since August 2015, Colorado laws have been updated to allow prosecutors to file Class 4 felony charges against drivers who are accused driving while impaired and who have at least three prior DUI convictions on their criminal records.

These convictions can come from any state (that is a party to the Interstate Driver’s License Compact, ICDL) and from any point in the past (because Colorado doesn’t have a “washout” period).

When felony DUI charges end in conviction, the penalties can be especially harsh and may include:

  • Up to four years in prison
  • Up to $500,000
  • Additional penalties, such as (but not limited to) length probation, driver’s license suspensions/revocations and/or alcohol treatment or education programs.

The Year in Review: A Look at the Impacts of the Colorado Felony DUI Law to Date

  • Police can check drivers’ DUI records during DUI stops – This is important for all motorists in Colorado to understand, as DUI convictions they acquired years (even decades) ago – regardless of whether those DUIs were in other states – can immediately be seen by traffic officers during DUI stops to determine when felony charges may apply. Framed in another way, this means that police officers can quickly assess when a motorist may be considered to be a ‘habitual drunk driver.’ These determinations may impact officers’ discretion and choices, particularly when it comes to making arrests.
  • Many felony DUI cases in Colorado are still pending – Interestingly, although well over 1,000 felony DUI charges have been filed in Colorado over the past 12 months or so, a significant number of these cases have yet to be resolved. This reveals not only how it can take time for the court DUI case to be processed and resolved but also how felony DUI cases tend to be more complicated to resolve (when compared to misdemeanor DUI cases).
  • Alternative sentencing options seem to be invoked just as commonly as prison time – In fact, in Colorado Springs alone, about half of the felony DUI cases that have been resolved have ended alternative sentencing while the other half of resulted in prison time. This may be one of the more hopeful findings for those accused of felony DUI charges, as it indicates the courts’ willingness to consider and hand down lesser penalties in light of the circumstances of a given case – as well as the defendant’s willingness (and desire) to participate in alternatives (like alcohol treatment).

In the coming months as more felony DUI cases are adjudicated in Colorado, the impacts of this new law – and just how often felony DUI charges end in convictions and prison time – will likely become more apparent.

As more news about these impacts becomes available, we’ll bring you the latest updates in a future blog. In the meantime, share your thoughts about this blog with us on Facebook & Google.

Get a Strong Defense against Any CO DUI Charges: Contact a Denver DUI Lawyer at the Griffin Law Firm

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony DUI in Colorado, you can turn to the Denver DUI lawyer at Griffin Law Firm for experienced, effective defense representation. With nearly 20 years’ experience in the criminal justice system, our attorney understands the complexities of the system, the challenges different defendants can face and the best ways of overcoming these challenges to bring criminal cases to successful resolutions.

To receive a complete evaluation of your case, along with professional advice regarding your best options, contact us by calling (303) 280-1070 or by emailing us using the contact form at the top of this page.


1: According to records from the Colorado Judicial Branch

Categories: DUI, DUI Defense, DUI News, DUI Penalties, Multiple DUIs