In December 2017, a Jefferson County judge finally sentenced a repeat DUI offender in Colorado to three years in prison. The man, 47-year-old Albert Torres, was arrested for 7 DUIs and had 5 convictions over a period of 20 years. He has never served serious prison time until now. He was sentenced after probation officers testified that he wasn’t following through with his treatment plan.
How has he managed to avoid prison time in Colorado if the state has a felony DUI law?
This is the question many have been asking. Colorado’s state felony DUI law was amended in August 2017 largely because of this case. According to Colorado’s felony DUI law, even a third DUI, a misdemeanor, requires jail time. A fourth DUI is a felony offense – which should come with jail time if the prosecution seeks it. Yet while prosecutors could seek 2-6 years of prison time, they just sought probation after his 5th DUI arrest. This is because there was no mandatory jail time for a first time felony DUI. As a result, he was sentenced to one year of work release and three years of probation.
After he was sentenced to probation, MADD said it would ask Colorado lawmakers to revisit the felony DUI bill to add mandatory jail time instead of it being at the prosecution’s discretion. In August 2017, the law was changed and it now requires felony drunk drivers to serve 90 to 180 days in jail even if a judge gives them probation. If a work release program is part of the sentence, then the DUI offender must still serve between 120 days and 2 years in jail.
Since the 2015 DUI law in Colorado began, more than 635 people were convicted of a felony DUI offense. Of those, 490 were sentenced to some jail time and 170 of those were also sentenced to prison. When the Denver Post reviewed sentencing for felony DUI offenses, they found a wide discrepancy in the way judges passed down sentences. 8% of those convicted of a felony DUI offense received no jail time whatsoever – despite it being their 4th or higher DUI offense.
Contact Our Boulder Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI, it is important to have an experienced DUI attorney on your side from the start. Your lawyer can help have these serious charges dismissed so that you do not have misdemeanor DUI convictions on your record. This can make a big difference in the future, should you be arrested again for a DUI.
If you are facing felony DUI conviction, it is important that you speak to our law firm immediately. Your future hangs in the balance. Contact the Boulder criminal defense lawyers at Steven Louth Law Offices today for a free consultation and review of your case. Call us at (303) 422-2297 to start building a solid defense against these serious criminal charges.