When you leave a bar or have had a few drinks at home, you may underestimate how much you had. Maybe you were fine and were stopped by the police for another traffic violation that then led to accusations of drunk driving. Whatever the cause of the charges against you was, it’s important that you defend yourself. Colorado has been changing in the last year, and the penalties for drunk driving are stricter today than they were in the past.

Drunk driving can land you in hot water in Colorado; in fact, in 2015, the governor made drunk driving penalties tougher than before. The new felony DUI law took place in August of 2015, and it makes a person’s fourth drunk-driving charge a felony, no matter when it takes place during that person’s lifetime.

The penalty for this crime is up to six years in prison, which can be negotiated based on the case and what happened to bring it to trial. Before the law went into effect, Colorado only penalized repeat offenders with up to a year in jail and a misdemeanor. Another bill that was suggested would have penalized repeat offenders on the third offense, but it was believed that the cost would be too high. Many people argued that the bill wasn’t doing enough to keep the roads safe even then.

Despite the bill passing, it’s still believed that only some people will end up in prison for their felony charges. Others may be referred to rehabilitation facilities or penalized in other ways, like by receiving high fines.

Source: The Denver Post, “Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper signs felony DUI bill into law,” John Frank, accessed June 09, 2016