Felony DUI law receives support and backlash

Crime

DENVER — A new law could potentially change the way Colorado handles repeat DUI offenders. These people could be looking at felony charges after their fourth one. The final decision is in the governor’s hands.

It’s a bill supporters have been fighting for almost a decade.

The bill also applies to drug use. Violators could face six years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

“Somebody out there will say, ‘Well you know, maybe I got to come up with a designated driver. Maybe I shouldn’t get behind the wheel of the car, because I don’t want to go to prison for this,'” said Dan May, District Attorney.

Supporters said this bill is progress, while others believe waiting for the fourth DUI is too late.

Dinky Smith’s daughter, Lilly Duncan, was killed by a drunk driver in 2011. Smith said the driver who killed her was just a first-time offender.

“I have a young granddaughter that will spend the rest of her life without any parents, and half of the reason for that is because somebody chose to drink and drive,” said Smith.

It’s a life experience the she wishes on no one.

“My loss has created a huge hole in my heart, and I feel like somebody just took away from me something that shouldn’t have been done,” said Smith.

She feels there is only one way to prevent her family tragedy from reoccurring.

“The penalties have to be stiffer,” said Smith. “Four DUI convictions and then it’s a felony? That’s wrong.”

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