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Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
Theoretically, it should—but statistically, we’re looking at a completely different graph. Let’s be clear here, though, that with regard to the law, the sole purpose of passing statutes is to commonly serve as deterrents for crime and wrongdoing. And when legislators in Colorado decided to pass a new law in 2015 to make a fourth or subsequent DUI a felony, that surely was the intention: to serve as a warning to repeat drunk drivers in Colorado.
Chances are good that if you happen to live in the state, you often hear about drunk driving accidents. They are usually catastrophic. Such as one Richard Strock of Colorado. He had his 19th drunk driving arrest in 31 years. After a night at the bar, crashed into a guardrail. His wife died in the accident. He was charged with vehicular homicide, and he’s now facing prison time of 48 years. Governor John Hickenlooper signed the new law into effect in 2015, stating that fourth or subsequent DUI offenders face six years in state prison on a felony conviction.
The skepticism, of course, is real. Can the law really be a deterrent? Especially when looking at a situation where someone has a disease called “addiction,” constantly intoxicated and not sure of mental faculties to step inside a vehicle and operate it with a lack of judgment. It’s not easy for someone to remember that there are now much more serious consequences for acting reckless behind the wheel.
And the proof is in the metrics, the data, the results of what often happens in the state of Colorado: 4,261 cases of felony DUI had been filed since the inception of the new law back in 2015, all the way to 2018 That’s plenty. However, did that mean the law was successful as deterrence? It should’ve been.
A deeper look into the data revealed that half of those cases actually settled—with only 2,222 defendants facing felony DUI prison time. What about the others? What did they receive?—some, nothing more than a day behind bars in county jail, and almost 200 more spending no more than 90 days in lock-up.
In fact, after further analysis, you’d find out that more than 10% of any of these felony DUI cases involve drivers charged under the law at least twice, assumedly knowing that they may face a felony. You’d think they would be aware that the trouble’s there. But they’re not.
And it doesn’t mean the law is failing. It simply means that the law isn’t being enforced—at the very least, at the court level. Case in point, if you believe there is a chance you can get some leniency, it doesn’t matter what the law states. The law should and must work—but we must do our best to always support it at every level.
The numbers show that drunk driving is still a serious problem in Colorado, and the effects can be fatal and traumatizing. If your life has been affected by a drunk driver, speak to an attorney immediately.