It’s a fact that repeat drunk drivers are a big problem in the United States. If you’ve watched how driving under the influence (DUI) laws have progressed over the past few years, you know that lawmakers are working to improve penalties like jail time and ignition interlock laws so they can reduce the likelihood that a drunk driver will drive drunk again.
Most states require a repeat offender to be charged with a felony after they’ve been caught drinking and driving several times over a period of years, and now Colorado, one of the only states without a felony DUI law for repeat offenders, is jumping on board.
Right now, if you’re a repeat DUI offender in Colorado you’ll be charged with a misdemeanor and will receive up to one year in jail, pay $1,500 in fines, and lose your driver’s license for one year. You’ll also be required to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle you drive.
If House Bill 15-243 passes in Colorado, it will be considered an automatic felony to receive 3 DUIs within 7 years, and you’ll also receive a felony if:
- You’re caught driving drunk with a minor in the vehicle
- If you cause harm to someone or damage property
- Leave the scene of a crash
- If you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) higher than .15.
Anyone who receives a second DUI in Colorado will also be required to use an ignition interlock device for a period of time between two and five years.
According to data Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) published in 2008, there were over 2 million three time or more repeat DUI offenders on the roads. That’s a lot of drunk drivers who make the choice to drink and drive over and over again. If Colorado makes repeat DUI offenses a felony, they are taking a positive step in the fight to end drunk driving.