In 2015, Colorado passed a law making it a felony to drive under the influence if you have 3 or more prior convictions for a drug or alcohol related driving offense. The felony DUI was classified as a class 4 felony. Prior to the enactment of that law, a DUI, regardless of how many priors a person may have, was a misdemeanor.
While the legislature made a 4th DUI a felony, the original law did not impose a minimum mandatory jail or prison sentence despite the fact that a 2nd and 3rd offense do carry a minimum mandatory jail sentence. A second carries a minimum mandatory 10 days of jail and a third carries a minimum mandatory 60 days of jail. A court may, in its discretion, impose a probation sentence without any jail time, on a 4th or subsequent DUI or DWAI offense. This is about the change.
New felony DUI sentencing law:
On August 9, 2017, a new law will go into effect that changes the sentencing requirements for a 4th or subsequent conviction. The new felony DUI law imposes a minimum mandatory 90 days of jail OR a minimum mandatory 12o days of jail with alternative sentencing options. This does not mean a judge will only give 90 days of jail or 120 days of jail with alternative sentencing options, but a judge must sentence a person to at least that much jail time. The jail time, whether straight time or alternative sentencing time, would be a condition of probation.
Does the new law apply to me?
Some may be concerned about the impact this change may have on their case? Sentencing laws apply as of the effective date. So, for example, if a person was charged with a 4th DUI on August 8, 2017, the old sentencing law would apply, whereas, a DUI charged on August 9, 2017, would be subject to the new law.