In early June, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law House Bill 15-1043, a bill to impose harsher penalties on offenders who have been arrested for four or more DUIs. Whereas DUIs used to be misdemeanor charges, under the new law, defendants with three or more drunk driving convictions face a Class 4 Felony for subsequent charges, which carries a potential prison sentence of six years and a fine of $500,000.
Even now, officials are unsure of how many drunk drivers are going to be caught and charged with felonies for multiple DUIs. One estimate suggests that, based on current trends, 100 repeat offenders or more will be charged with felonies in the next 12 months.
Is Repeat Drunk Driving Really That Common?
Based on statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly one-third of all DUI arrests and convictions involve repeat offenders. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) pointed out in 2013 that every day, somewhere in the ballpark of 300,000 people will drive drunk, but only 4,000 will be arrested. That statistic should give some insight into why repeat offenses are so common, but it does not address the whole issue of repeat drunk driving and the felony DUI law.
The tragic truth of the matter is that felony DUI laws do not strike at the root of the problem. A person who has been convicted three times of drunk driving is not going to be deterred by more punishment for a fourth DUI. Rehabilitation, not incarceration, is the best bet for preventing drunk drivers from committing more offenses.
If you are facing felony charges for repeat drunk driving, contact a DUI attorney.
Thomas Law Firm – Denver DUI Lawyers