CO Man’s 16th DUI Charge Prompts Felony DUI Law Debate
The 16th driving under the influence charge of a Colorado man has encouraged state legislators to reconsider their drunken driving laws.
In November, a grand jury in Colorado has indicted Denny Lovern, 57, on multiple charges that are related with this latest DUI-related accident. Lovern admitted he had too much to drink and shouldn’t have been operating a motor vehicle.
The jury indicted Lovern on 9 charges, which included attempted first-degree assault and attempted manslaughter.
According to the eighteenth Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler, this case is the first one his office has pursued from chronic DUI offender.
Colorado is one of five states in the US, plus Washington D.C., that does not have a felony DUI law. In Colorado, the most severe penalty on the books for a DUI charge is one year in the county jail. The other states that lack a DUI felony law are Maryland, Maine, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Under these particular circumstances, Colorado prosecutors can bring felony DUI charges against an offender if the charge is joint with a traffic offender indictment.
In Lovern’s case, he wasn’t charged with an HTO because he had reinstated his license with the DMV.
Representative Mark Waller proposed a felony DUI law twice, only to have the bill not pass. There are some legislators that feel that there isn’t enough data to encourage a felony DUI law in order to make Colorado streets safer.