Intoxicated driving has been a perennial problem in the United States. While most states have developed strict laws to curb drunk driving, Colorado’s laws seem to lack a bite. Colorado is among five other states, and Washington, D.C., to not have laws that charge repeat offenders with a felony. The other states are Maine, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The laws’ lack of teeth was placed under the spotlight recently as a drunk driver was charged with yet another DUI charge.
The 57-year-old male driver was indicted by a grand jury for nine charges. While most were alcohol-related, the man was also charged with attempted manslaughter and assault. However, that was just part of the man’s troubling legal resume. The indictment revealed that over the last 31 years the man was been cited for drunk driving violations on approximately 20 occasions. In those offenses, he was convicted 16 times. This has led to a Judicial District Attorney calling the state’s drunk driving laws weak.
The District Attorney explained that if a drunk driver is convicted five or more times, the driver belongs to a rare percentile that should get a more aggressive punishment. Colorado can only imprison an offender for one year in a county jail. The most prosecutors can do is to combine a drunk driving charge with that of a habitual traffic offender violation. However, the most that the courts can do is to send a drunk driver to prison for a year and a half.
While Colorado legislators aim to make better laws and police do their best to enforce the full extent of the law, accident victims or their families can help make sure that a drunk driver is held accountable by filing a legal action. Although DUI laws may not be enough, legal action may make up for what is lacking. And in doing so, victims can seek justice and compensation.