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Colorado Turns Up the Heat on Repeat DUI Offenders


As May passed to June, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a felony DUI bill into law, as John Frank reported for the Denver Post, a bill that was many years of legislative effort in the making. By making a fourth DUI charge a felony offense, the new law targets repeat DUI offenders in Colorado. Prior to the new law, as Frank reports, subsequent offenders faced only misdemeanor-level charges.

Frank quotes Ellie Phipps (the survivor of a serious alcohol-related wreck) who lobbied for the law: “I’m really pleased,” she said. But Phipps also said that the law needs to be tougher. And in anticipating criticism, Gov. Hickenlooper said, “The world of government is measured in steps. You rarely get gigantic sea level change. But this is a pretty big step.”

The critics don’t think so, as this Aurora Sentinel staff editorial shows, which argues that the new law won’t make our roads any safer: “About two-thirds of all deaths caused by drunken drivers are committed by people facing their first DUI arrest, not their second, third, or fourth.” The Aurora Sentinel also argues that the law will cost taxpayers between $2-4M per year while doing little to decrease the number of drivers arrested for DUI.

The Impact of an Alcohol-related Crash

One thing is clear: Regardless of one’s approach to law and punishment when it comes to DUI, the victims and their families feel the impact of an alcohol-related crash very personally and very directly. That’s why survivor Ellie Phipps traveled to the Capitol 12 times over more than four years to get a version of the felony DUI bill passed – and believes it needs to be even tougher.

About Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C.

Personal injury and wrongful death cases are a significant part of the law practice of Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C. What we offer you is the promise that we will never lose sight of what you’re going through – uncertainty, anger, fear, disbelief – that are often a part of a DUI-related crash. Call us at 303-395-4773 to get the answers you’re looking for.


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Litigation is a journey. This is a journey we have taken with our clients a countless number of times. If you face the uncertainty, risk, fear, anger, or disbelief that comes with the prospect of going through a legal dispute, the law firm of Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C. will help you through it.