Boulder, CO- Noting that Colorado is one of the few states without felony DUI laws, Governor John Hickenlooper said in his State of the State address that it was time to make laws tougher on DUI offenders.

“While we must continue to focus our efforts on anti-drunk driving measures like intervention, rehabilitation, and active enforcement — adequate punishment is also needed,” the Governor said in his Thursday address, according to the Denver Channel. 

Under Colorado’s current laws, a repeat drunken driving offense is not considered a felony unless a minor child was in the car or someone was injured or killed. An offender faces the same jail penalty for a second and third DUI offense as they do for a first DUI; a maximum of one year in jail.

This is not enough to discourage repeat offenses so Gov. Hickenlooper wants lawmakers to work on legislation that will make state’s DUI laws tougher. He mentioned Republican lawmakers’ efforts to pass such a law repeatedly in the past, which was defeated by Democrats last May because they said it did not address the root cause of drunken driving; alcoholism.

That law would have made a second or third DUI offense within a seven year period a felony, or make a DUI felony if a minor child was in the car, the accident involved and injury or death or the offender’s BAC was .15 or above. A felony DUI carries a maximum penalty of 6 years in jail.

The law would also require a person convicted of their second DUI offense to install an ignition interlock device in their car anywhere from 2 to 6 years, according to the Denver Channel.  An ignition interlock device requires a driver blow into a breathalyzer that is attached to the ignition of their vehicle. If they are over the legal limit, their car won’t start.

Statistics show that nearly 50 percent of people who have been charged with DUI for the first time will repeat the offense.

On one hand it should be comforting to know that at least half of the nearly 1.5 million people who are arrested for driving under the influence each year don’t do it again. That means there is a large number of people who learned their lesson.

But the downside is that there are half a million DUI offenders who don’t learn from their mistake, and continue to drive under the influence, putting lives at risk.

There really is no reason for a person to drive drunk, but alcohol is known to help people make good decisions. The majority of DUI offenders realize their mistake and never do it again. If you’ve made a bad decision and are in trouble you should contact a DUI attorney in Boulder immediately.

When you have a Colorado DUI attorney working on your defense, you may be able to negate some of the consequences of your mistake. You need someone who can negotiate and work with the courts to help you with your case. There is too much to lose to not have an attorney on your side.