A proposed drunk driving bill was recently approved to move on to the state Capital in Colorado. If passed, it could make drunk driving penalties more serious.

The bill seeks to punish repeat drunk drivers more harshly. Sponsors of the legislation completed their testimony at Colorado’s state senate building on Tuesday morning. If codified into law, the increased punishments would make a third DUI offense a felony charge if the three charges occurred inside a 7-year time frame. If it is a fourth DUI charge, which occurred at any time in the driver’s lifetime, it will also be considered a felony offense.

In the state of Colorado, a DUI charge is never considered a felony offense until a death results from a DUI incident.

During Tuesday’s proceedings, lawmakers testified that even this harsher bill does not sufficiently address the necessity of alcoholism treatment, which can serve to prevent DUI charges in the future. Nevertheless, supporters of the legislation say that it is unbelievable that anyone would continue to drink and drive multiple times after a previous conviction.

One ardent supporter of the legislation made statements to the effect that alcoholism is a disease, but drunk driving is a criminal offense. The supporter said that the two issues must be separated. He claimed that we can stop drivers from drunk driving with criminal punishments, but we cannot cure alcoholism.

Drunk driving charges are serious and if this law is passed, they could become more serious for Colorado residents. Any time that new legislation governing driving laws is passed, it is vital that all drivers stay abreast of the new developments to prevent themselves from inadvertently getting into trouble with the law.

Source: CBS, “Felony DUI Bill Moves Forward At State Capitol,” accessed April. 30, 2015