DENVER (CBS4) – A bill under consideration at the Colorado Capitol would close a loophole in a felony DUI law that was passed two years ago.
It’s meant to address cases like Ashby Capito’s. She was speeding down a highway in Leadville with a blood alcohol level that was more than twice the legal limit.
“She drove off the road, careened into a house. Then she ended up getting a work release sentence similar to somebody that would have two prior convictions. She had six. We think this is unfair,” said District Attorney Bruce Brown, who represents several counties in Colorado’s high country.
Brown is among those who support the bill, which would fix what some call the “4th DUI Discount.”
When someone is convicted for a third DUI, they face a minimum 60 day sentence under Colorado’s current felony DUI law. But 10 percent of those sentenced for a fourth DUI have received no time behind bars, and nearly 40 percent got work release or community corrections.
“We worked really hard to get felony DUI passed the first time. And then to find out there was this loophole — and there were people actually getting less of a punishment on their fourth or greater DUI than they would have on a third — that was really hard to take,” said Fran Lanzer, MADD Colorado Executive Director.
The new bill would require anyone convicted of a fourth or greater DUI to spend at least 90 days in jail, to do community service and to get treatment at their own expense.
“Nobody would have conceived that somebody who got a third DUI would get a minimum jail time but somebody with their fourth, fifth, tenth DUI would get no jail time at all,” said state Rep. Lori Saine, a Republican from Weld County who is one of the bill’s sponsors. “It’s so disrespectful to the victims.”
The bill passed through a legislative committee on Thursday and is expected to eventually make it to the governor’s desk.