DENVER (CBS4)– A bill to create a felony drunk driving law in Colorado has advanced at the state Capitol. The bill would impose harsher punishments on repeat drunk drivers.
The bill’s sponsors wrapped up testimony at the state senate on Tuesday morning.
The bill would make it a felony to drive drunk after your third DUI in seven years or your fourth in a lifetime.
Currently in Colorado, a DUI is not a felony offense unless someone is killed as a result.
Both opponents and supporters of the bill testified in front of lawmakers.
Critics believe the bill doesn’t do enough to treat alcoholism and prevent future DUIs.
“For my story today I just want to let you know that simply intensifying the penalties for DUI is not going to help. We need rehab and help for people who don’t realize they have that alcohol problem,” said one opponent.
Supporters said it’s unthinkable that someone could continue to drive drunk, cause serious harm to other motorists and not be charged with a felony.
“Alcoholism is a disease. Driving drunk is criminal. And you have got to separate the two. You have the power to stop them from driving drunk but you do not have the power to cure the alcoholism,” said one supporter.
Supporters also told lawmakers that in other states where similar bills were passed, repeat DUI arrests drop up to 30 percent.
If the bill passes it heads to appropriations, the farthest this type of bill has ever advanced.
LINK: House Bill 1043