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We discussed in February proposed legislation to punish repeat drunk drivers by making repeat offenses felonies after either a third strike within seven years of the first, or a fourth strike in a person’s lifetime. The current proposal has removed the three strikes rule in the bill’s original text. According to supporters of the bill, known as HB 1043, removing the three strikes rule will make the policy more desirable for policymakers who may not have supported the original text. It would also lower the cost of passing HB 1043 by placing fewer people in prison; the revised language is projected to cost Colorado $1.5 million in the debut year, as opposed to the $2.4 million cost of the first proposal. Should the bill pass, Colorado would join 45 other states with felony DUI bills. What are the Pros and Cons of HB 1043? Opponents of the bill call it foolish and expensive, with some suggesting that the money this bill would cost the state would be better spent upgrading addiction treatment and rehabilitation programs. Supporters believe that current punishments are far too lenient and do not stop habitual drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel. According to MADD, 50 to 75 percent of drivers caught driving under the influence of alcohol will do it again. Whether the bill passes or fails, drunk driving can still result in jail time, fines and revocation of driving privileges. If you are caught driving under the influence, you need to contact an experienced DUI attorney to help fight your charges. DUI Matters – Denver Drunk Driving Lawyers Source:

Repeat Drunk Driver Felony Bill HB 1043 Amended, Under Consideration

In February, we discussed proposed legislation to crack down on repeat drunk drivers in Colorado. The initial proposal sought to make repeat DUI offenses felonies. Still, recent developments have led to changes in the bill’s language and scope.

The original bill, known as HB 1043, initially included a “three strikes” provision, which would have made repeat DUI offenses felonies after a third offense within seven years of the first or a fourth offense in a person’s lifetime. However, the bill’s current version has removed the three-strikes rule from its text. Advocates for the bill argue that this alteration makes the policy more appealing to a broader range of policymakers who may have hesitated to support the original proposal.

One key reason for this change is the potential cost reduction associated with the bill’s implementation. By eliminating the three-strikes provision, the revised legislation is projected to cost the state of Colorado $1.5 million in its debut year, compared to the original proposal’s estimated cost of $2.4 million. This cost-saving measure aims to address concerns about the bill’s financial impact on the state’s resources.

Should the bill pass, Colorado would join 45 other states that have already enacted felony DUI laws.

Now, let’s delve into the pros and cons of HB 1043:

Pros of HB 1043:

  1. Stricter Deterrence: Supporters of the bill argue that current punishments for repeat DUI offenders are too lenient. By classifying repeat offenses as felonies, the law could serve as a stronger deterrent against habitual drunk driving.
  2. Increased Road Safety: Felony DUI charges may lead to longer sentences and more significant fines, which could discourage individuals from driving under the influence. This, in turn, could potentially reduce the number of drunk driving incidents and enhance road safety.
  3. Alignment with National Norms: Enacting felony DUI legislation would bring Colorado in line with the majority of states in the U.S. that have similar laws on the books, signaling a commitment to combat drunk driving.

Cons of HB 1043:

  1. Cost Concerns: Opponents of the bill argue that it is costly and may divert valuable resources from other critical areas such as addiction treatment and rehabilitation programs. Some contend that allocating these funds towards prevention and treatment could be more effective in addressing the root causes of drunk driving.
  2. Potential Overcriminalization: Critics suggest that making every repeat DUI offense a felony might lead to the overcriminalization of certain individuals who would benefit more from rehabilitation and treatment rather than incarceration.
  3. Limited Focus: The bill primarily addresses the punitive aspect of drunk driving without delving into comprehensive strategies for prevention, education, and rehabilitation.


In conclusion, while the fate of HB 1043 remains uncertain, it is crucial to emphasize that drunk driving continues to carry serious legal consequences in Colorado. Regardless of the legislative outcome, individuals caught driving under the influence may still face jail time, fines, and the revocation of their driving privileges. In such circumstances, seeking legal representation from an experienced DUI attorney is essential to navigate the legal complexities and work towards the best possible outcome.

At Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, we are dedicated to assisting individuals facing alcohol and drug-related driving offenses and any driving-related legal issues in Colorado. Our team of legal experts is committed to providing expert counsel and representation tailored to your specific situation. Our firm protects your rights if you are dealing with DUI charges or any other driving-related matters. It offers the professional guidance and support you need. Your legal well-being is our top priority.

Do you have further questions or concerns? Call us or contact the attorneys at Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, and we will be happy to help.

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