DENVER—On Wednesday, August 9, four public safety bills championed by Republicans this past session go into effect. Legislation targeting domestic violence and human trafficking, methods to help animals and people trapped in unsafe vehicles, and sentencing consistency for habitual drunk drivers were among the bills passed this session.
House Bill 1150, sponsored by Representative Clarice Navarro (R-Pueblo), denies bail between conviction and sentencing for cases involving felony stalking or felony domestic violence. Prior to this legislation, individuals convicted of felony domestic violence or stalking could be granted bail until their sentencing, which in Colorado was up to nearly eight weeks.
“This new law will help victims of severe domestic violence or terrifying stalking feel safe testifying in court against their attacker and know that following conviction, they will not have to fear retaliation,” said Navarro. “Republicans continue to make public safety a top priority and I hope this bill and the other legislation passed this year will make Coloradans feel safer in their communities and help reduce crime in our state.”
House Bill 1172, sponsored by Representatives Terri Carver (R-Colorado Springs) and Navarro, requires a court to sentence a child sex trafficker convicted of a class 2 felony to at least eight years but up to 24 years, which is the presumptive range for a class 2 felony.
“Child sex trafficking is one the most evil crimes imaginable, and no one involved in this deplorable activity should ever be sentenced to only probation,” said Carver. “As Colorado continues to struggle with this criminal epidemic, establishing mandatory minimum sentences sends the message that traffickers will be prosecuted and sentenced to at least eight years in prison.”
House Bill 1179, sponsored by Representative Lori Saine (R-Firestone), gives good Samaritans a process to save children and animals trapped inside an unsafe vehicles. The bill, which passed with strong bipartisan support, lists specific steps that a person must take to have immunity from any damages resulting from their intervention.
If a child or animal is in imminent danger, a person must confirm that the vehicle is locked, make a good faith attempt to contact the vehicle owner, and contact law enforcement before attempting to break into a vehicle.
Saine issued the following statement on the new law taking effect:
“Even on a mild summer day and parked in the shade, the inside of a car can get well over 100 degrees in only 10 minutes. People need to know that leaving children or animals in a car can be a fatal mistake, and while this law gives direction on how to save a life, I hope people remember not to put loved ones in this dangerous situation.”
In addition to House Bill 1179, Saine also sponsored legislation strengthening Colorado’s felony DUI laws. House Bill 1288 closed a loophole that allowed some Colorado judges to sentence people convicted of four or more DUIs to only probation. Currently, a third DUI conviction carries a mandatory 60-day jail sentence. However, a 2016 report indicated about 1 in 12 felony DUI convictions had resulted in only probation.
“No one could have imagined that a person convicted of a fourth DUI could receive a far lighter sentence than for their third,” said Saine. “This inconsistent sentencing violated the spirit of the felony DUI law we passed two years ago. Now anyone convicted of a fourth or subsequent DUI will be going to jail for at least three to six months, keeping these repeat offenders off Colorado roads and ensuring they get the treatment they need.”