As reported by CBS Denver News, a DUI felony bill gained initial approval in the Colorado House of Representatives.
For the second year in a row, Rep. Mark Waller has sponsored a bill that would make it a felony for a person to receive three DUI convictions within a seven-year span, or four within a lifetime. The estimated cost to taxpayers would be $34 million.
A similar bill, which would have made the violation a class 5 felony, passed the House last year, but died in Senate Committee due to concerns about the price tag . This year’s version drops the “mandatory” prison sentence, but is even more severe, in that it would make the felony in question a class 4 felony, which carries an even longer prison sentence.
The $34 million cost to taxpayers is merely an estimate. A year ago, lawmakers in Washington State, which already had a provision that imposes a felony conviction on four-time offenders, rejected a bill that would punish three-time offenders due to an estimated $200 million in prison construction expenses.
The Colorado Criminal Defense Bar continues to oppose the bill, arguing that reduction of DUIs and DUI-related traffic deaths would be more effective and cost taxpayers less money by emphasizing enforcement and treatment rather than incarceration in the state prison system.