House Bill 1214 is up for consideration in Colorado. This bill aims to mandate a felony charge for the third DUI/DWAI offense, regardless of the circumstances. This Bill will further remove discretion from our court system and should not be passed. It has been defeated in the past due to the costs of enforcement and lack of space in the jails. However, it seems there are now empty beds in  the jails, which should be a good thing, unfortunately it has been used as a signal to the legislators that new laws to increase incarceration are needed to fill them. The representative that introduced the Bill states that Colorado is one of five states that do not have a felony penalty for repeat offenders. This is much like saying, we should do this because everyone else is. We are also one of two states that has legalized marijuana, did we do that because everyone else is? I hope that citizens stand up and make their voices heard on this issue because we shouldn't pass new laws because everyone else has them.

The real problem with this mentality is that everyone that has been convicted of a DWAI or DUI was driving or actually causing a safety risk to the community. This is often not the case in Colorado. Another problem is that a DWAI is a .05 - .07 BAC level, which for me is one drink. These laws need to be equal for all drivers, not discriminating against people that drink. If a driver is observed driving poorly and creating a safety hazard, they should be ticketed and removed from the road - equal treatment for all drivers. Most fatal accidents are caused by people that have a .000 BAC level.

Colorado residents write your representatives to make your voice heard and ask for equality among drivers. No on House Bill 1214.

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