Each year, roughly 10,000 drunken drivers are busted in Colorado for driving drunk again – and during a recent three-year span, more than 5,000 drunken drivers had at least three prior DUI arrests. Colorado’s criminal justice system touches about 31,000 drunken drivers a year, a Denver Post examination of state records found. But the system fails to ensure that those drivers stay off the road after drinking. One in three arrested for drinking and driving have at least one prior DUI.
“This is out of control, and I don’t know if the general public knows this,” said Carolyn DeVries of Denver, one of 17 members of a statewide DUI task force set up to look at ways to attack a problem that has vexed lawmakers, cops, prosecutors and judges for years. From 2005 to 2007, an average of 31,011 alleged drunken drivers were arrested each year in Colorado. During that same three-year span, an average of 10,835 drunken drivers each year had at least one prior DUI arrest. Among them were 5,679 Colorado drivers arrested over the three years for drunken driving who had at least three prior offenses, 84 who had been stopped for driving drunk at least 10 times, and five with more than 20 prior cases.