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Colorado bill wants to make repeat drunk driving a felony

Colorado wants to crackdown on repeat drunk drivers to try and reduce impaired drivers from travelling on Colorado roads and causing car accidents.

Over 30,000 people are arrested for drunk driving in Colorado every year. Driving drunk poses significant dangers on the road and contributes to many car accidents in Denver. Despite the dangers of drunk driving, drivers arrested for drunk driving are only charged with a misdemeanor, leaving many to wonder if a felony charge would deter more people from driving drunk.

To address the dangers of repeat drunk drivers, Colorado lawmakers have proposed a bill that would make drunk driving a felony for people convicted of their third DUI within seven years. People who are convicted of a fourth DUI would also be a felony and the driver could sentenced to three years in prison.

Lawmakers who proposed the bill said that many previous drunk driving offenders were repeat offenders but they were only charged with a misdemeanor, even if they caused a car accident. Supporters of the bill said that cracking down on repeat offenders and making it a felony will make offenders more likely to seek treatment instead of going to prison, hopefully reducing the number of repeat drunk drivers on the road.

While many people support the proposed bill that would make it a felony for repeat drunk driving offenders, it would increase prison expenses in Colorado. The proposed bill is estimated to cost $16 million.

The bill has already been passed by the House Judiciary Committee and is now waiting to be voted on by the Appropriations Committee.

Source: CBS Denver, "State Lawmaker Targets Repeat DUI Offenders," Feb. 22, 2013

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