New Legislation Could Change Summons for DUI in Colorado

A Colorado Senate bill is making its way through the state legislature that would change the penalties associated with being issued a summons for drunk driving. Currently, rather than being arrested and issued a warrant for Colorado DUI, a motorist can be ticketed and issued a summons. The accused must then make a court appearance where formal charges may be filed.

State legislators discovered that those who are issued a summons for DUI are not subject to penalties and restrictions as those who are arrested. Because motorists are only given a ticket and not required to make bail, Colorado DUI laws limit the actions that judges can initiate.

The new bill would require bail being set for everyone charged with drinking and driving in Colorado, even if only a summons is issued. That would allow judges to impose penalties such as prohibiting alcohol consumption and requiring use of an ankle-monitoring bracelet.

A summons is commonly issued for DUI in Colorado because of jail overcrowding. Statistics from Weld County indicate that less than 1 percent of drunk drivers are jailed. The remainder are given a summons to appear in court.

The bill has passed the Colorado Senate and is currently in the House for review. If passed, it with provide law enforcement officers and the courts more options when addressing the problem of drunk driving, and it does not remove the ability to issue a summons for DUI.

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