House Bill 13-1214 seeks to make a third DUI in seven years a Class 5 felony in Colorado, which is punishable by a sentence to prison from one to three years in the presumptive sentencing range, and up to six years with extraordinary aggravation. The House Judiciary voted unanimously in favor of the bill on February 21.
Under current Colorado DUI law, a multiple offense DUI is always a misdemeanor regardless of the amount of prior DUI convictions a person has on his or her record. This new proposed law would create a Class 5 felony for a third offense within seven years and a fourth conviction in a lifetime. The bill also makes the prison time mandatory for a conviction, which means a judge cannot suspend the incarceration for an alternative type sentence.
The bill also prevents courts from granting early termination of probation for a felony DUI conviction until the offender has successfully completed 2 years of probation.
In addition, the bill would repeal the crime of aggravating driving without a license coupled with a DUI (commonly referred to as Aggravated HTO).
Pursuant to Colorado law, a conviction means “a verdict of guilty by judge or jury or a plea of guilty or nolo contendre…” and also a guilty plea by way of a deferred judgment and sentence unless the defendant successfully completes the deferred.
Colorado is only one of five states per KDVR that does not have a felony DUI law for multiple offenders.