Colorado will begin punishing habitual drunken drivers with felonies and longer prison sentences. The new law is among dozens taking effect Aug. 5.
Now a fourth DUI conviction will be punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine of as much as $500,000. Previously, repeat drunken drivers were only charged with misdemeanors with up to a year in jail.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the felony DUI bill into law in June. Monday that makes a fourth DUI a felony punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine of as much as $500,000.
Alma Sanchez, a Denver mother lost her 17-year-old cousin when he was killed by a drunken driver in Aurora last year, was among those at the signing ceremony.
"Out of nowhere, a drunk driver will devastate your life," she said.
Among the other measures taking effect: Law enforcement agencies will also have access to records of misconduct for officers they want to hire. The legislation is part of a package of measures in response to allegations of wrongdoing by police nationally and in the state.
Another measure begins phasing out microbeads by 2020. The tiny plastic particles found in soaps and cosmetic products are too fine to be caught in wastewater treatment plants and can pollute lakes and rivers.
The ban has the backing of large personal-care product manufacturers including Johnson & Johnson. But some Republicans argued that the ban wasn't necessary because microbeads are already being phased out.