New Colorado Felony DUI Law will Affect Non-Citizens

5/8/2015

Colorado used to be one of only 5 states without a felony driving under the influence statute.

That ended May 6, 2015, when after a long, hard-fought process, the Colorado state Senate passed a bill 34-1 to create a felony charge for a fourth DUI conviction in the state. The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. John Hickenlooper who previously indicated he'd sign the bill if it made it to his desk.

The new statute will create a class 4 felony AFTER three or more prior convictions for DWAI, DUI, or DUI per se, DUID, vehicular homicide, or vehicular assault, arising out of separate distinct criminal episodes.

The bill also changes the penalty for aggravated driving with a revoked license from a class 6 felony to a class 1 misdemeanor but requires a sentencing court to ensure that an offender spends a minimum of 60 days in a county jail.

For non-citizens even a single DUI or DWAI conviction can have grave consequences such as the denial of naturalization or the loss of legal status, and driving drunk with a license suspended for a prior alcohol offense is a crime involving moral turpitude that can cause deportation or the loss of a defense to removal.

At Johnson Knudson, we specialize in advising non-citizens on their their rights and options.  We have highly experienced criminal defense attorneys ready to help.  Contact us today to set up a consultation.