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Impact of Colorado's Revised DUI/DWAI (Driving Under the Influence/Driving While Alcohol Impaired) Legislation on County Jails

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1984
This report assesses the impact of Colorado's new 1982 laws against driving while intoxicated under the influence of alcohol (DUI).

The strict new law prohibits plea bargaining from an alcohol related offense down to a non-alcoholic offense, allows judges to sentence DUI offenders to 2 years probation, mandates some public service for all DUI offenders, and mandates jail time which cannot be suspended for persons with two or more DUI offenses. The law also requires persons convicted of subsequent DUI offenses to abstain from alcohol for 1 year as a condition for suspending the remaining portion of the jail sentence, requires that more extensive records be kept on convicted DUI offenders, and increases and redistributes fees and fines for DUI offenders. The impact of the first 6 months of the new DUI legislation on the jails was compared to the same period in 1981. It was found that arrests for DUI offenses increased 13 percent and the number of pretrial bookings into county jails increased 9 percent. Although there was an increase in the number of people booked, there was a 10 percent decrease in the length of time held. The conviction rate decreased from 74.4 percent to 67.5 percent. The number of people sentenced to the jails for DUI offenses increased approximately 73 percent. The estimated incarceration days resulting from the new legislation increased 45 percent at an annual increased cost to the counties in excess of $775,000. Charts and tabular data are given.

Date Published: January 1, 1984