Law requiring jail time for felony DUI offenders in Colorado now in effect

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A new state law went into effect Wednesday, August 9, requiring anyone convicted of a felony driving under the influence to spend time behind bars.

However, a felony DUI is different than a regular DUI. A felony DUI comes after four convictions, and all subsequent convictions, of drunk driving, stated in the original DUI law which was passed in 2015.

The law closes a loophole allowing people to avoid being locked up, while others receive lengthy prison sentences.

It now requires felony drunken drivers to serve 90 to 180 days in jail if a judge decides to give them probation.

If a work release program is available and is part of an offender’s sentence, that person is required to serve 120 days to two years in jail.

Michael Finley of Falcon was killed by a drunk driver in April just weeks before his high school graduation.

Finley’s father, Mason Peters, said he’s happy that there is now statewide standardization regarding drunk driving laws, but that happiness is fleeting.

“It’s hard because we get asked, ‘Are you happy with the outcome?’ and there’s really no way to find happiness after what we’ve gone through,” Peters said.

Peters said that four DUI convictions to be classified as a felony is too many.

“One time is all it takes, folks,” he said.

Jeanne Highline’s husband was a UCCS officer who was killed by a drunk driver in 2008.

“I think it’s a good thing, I didn’t think the DUI felony law originally was strong enough,” Highline said.

Highline agrees with Peters in that four times to be convicted of a DUI is too many.

“Four DUIs is a lot, we don’t even want people to have one,” Highline said.

“It’s not so much the fourth time, it’s the first time that can cause death,” Peters said.

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