For years, Colorado was one of the few states in the nation without a felony DUI standard for repeat offenders, but all that changed when Governor John Hickenlooper signed new legislation early this June. While many praised the bill for finally updating what many critics called lax DUI laws, some Colorado residents think the bill still doesn’t go far enough.
Richard Agren is a Denver resident who says he was the sole witness to a fatal drunk driving crash in 1984. In an acid opinion letter published by the “Denver Post,” Agren recalls giving testimony to defense attorneys. He says he’s been waiting for tougher DUI legislation for three decades, and he’s still waiting.
“I just want to offer up a great big congratulations to our gutless Colorado legislators for passing the ‘four strikes and you’re out’ DUI bill. Basically, drivers will still be able to drive drunk and be arrested three times before there are felony consequences,” he wrote.
As of this summer, drivers convicted of four DUIs will be subject to a felony. What are the consequences for first time drunk drivers? According to Denver drunk driving lawyers:
- In Colorado, first-time offenders can lose their license for a year.
- They also face as little as five days or as much as one year in jail, with additional public service requirements (48 to 96 hours).
- For drivers under 21, the legal limit is just 0.02%.
- Not only that, but drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.05% and above can be charged with the lesser offense “driving while ability impaired,” or a DWAI.
The majority of fatal drunk driving crashes involve drivers who have BAC levels significantly above the legal limit, and so far defense attorneys say it’s too early to tell what effect the new DUI law will have on drunk driving in Colorado. In 2011 there were 161 fatal drunk driving crashes; however, that does represent a 45% reduction since 2001. The best DUI lawyers in Denver might be able to help you get your license back, but they won’t be able to make victims whole.