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Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Colorado, and the state has strict laws to discourage drunk driving. One of the penalties for DUI is the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in the offender’s vehicle.

If you are arrested for DUI, it is imperative to seek experienced legal representation. Our legal team at The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, can help build a solid defense to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. The first step is to call our office and schedule an appointment.

Understanding DUI Laws in Colorado

Before we delve into the specifics of ignition interlock devices, it is important to understand Colorado’s DUI laws.

In Colorado, a person can be charged with DUI if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher or they are substantially incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle due to alcohol or drug consumption, according to Colorado Revised Statutes § 42-4-1301.

Colorado also has a lesser charge called DWAI (driving while ability impaired), which applies when a person’s BAC is between 0.05% and 0.08%, or if their driving ability is impaired by alcohol or drugs to the slightest degree. Penalties for DUI and DWAI offenses vary based on the severity of the offense and the driver’s history of prior offenses.

When Is an Ignition Interlock Device Required?

An ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer installed in a vehicle, requiring the driver to provide a breath sample before the vehicle can be started. The vehicle will not start if the sample registers a BAC above a certain threshold (usually 0.025% in Colorado), the vehicle will not start.

In Colorado, the following situations may require the installation of an IID:

First DUI Conviction

If you are convicted of your first DUI in Colorado, and your BAC was less than 0.15%, you must have an IID installed in your vehicle for at least eight months. This requirement includes other penalties, such as fines, jail time, and license suspension.

First DUI Conviction with a BAC of 0.15% or Higher

If your BAC were 0.15% or higher during your first DUI conviction, you would be considered a “persistent drunk driver” (PDD) in Colorado. As a PDD, you will be required to have an IID installed in your vehicle for at least two years.

Second or Subsequent DUI Convictions

For a second or subsequent DUI conviction, regardless of your BAC level, you will be required to have an IID installed in your vehicle for at least two years.

Refusal to Submit to a Chemical Test

If you refuse to submit to a chemical test (breath, blood, or urine) to determine your BAC, you may be classified as a persistent drunk driver (PDD) and will be required to have an IID installed in your vehicle for a minimum of two years, even if you are not ultimately convicted of a DUI or DWAI offense.

Early Reinstatement of Driving Privileges

In Colorado, drivers with a suspended license due to a DUI conviction may be eligible for early reinstatement of their driving privileges. To be eligible, drivers must meet certain criteria, including:

  • Completion of Mandatory Suspension Period: A 30-day suspension period must be completed for first-time DUI offenders. For second or subsequent offenses, a 60-day suspension is required.
  • Enrollment in Alcohol Education Program: Drivers must enroll in an approved alcohol education and treatment program before applying for early reinstatement.
  • Installation of Ignition Interlock Device: Drivers must have an approved ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle and agree to use it for the specified period.

The Application Process

To apply for early reinstatement, drivers must submit the required documentation and fees to the Colorado Department of Revenue – Division of Motor Vehicles. This may include proof of enrollment in an alcohol education program, proof of IID installation, and payment of reinstatement fees.

Once the application is approved, the driver will be granted limited driving privileges, allowing them to drive only with the installed IID. Following all rules and requirements associated with early reinstatement is crucial, as any violations can result in additional penalties and an extended suspension period.

Costs Associated with Ignition Interlock Devices

Installing and maintaining an IID can be costly, and offenders are typically responsible for covering these expenses. The costs associated with IIDs include:

  • Installation: The average cost of installing an IID in Colorado ranges from $70 to $150, depending on the provider.
  • Monthly Fees: IID providers charge monthly fees for monitoring and maintenance, ranging from $60 to $80 per month.
  • Removal: When the required period for IID use is over, there is often a removal fee, ranging from $50 to $100.
  • Additional Costs: Some IID providers may charge extra fees for calibration, violation resets, or device lockouts.

It is essential to research different IID providers to find one that best suits your needs and budget.

The Impact on Your Driving Privileges

While having an IID installed in your vehicle can be a significant inconvenience, it does allow you to regain some driving privileges after a DUI or Denver DWAI conviction. An IID can allow offenders to maintain employment, attend educational programs, and fulfill family obligations.

However, following the rules and requirements associated with IID usage is crucial. Violating these rules, such as attempting to tamper with or remove the device, can result in additional penalties and an extension of the required IID period.

Contact Our Colorado DUI Attorneys for Help with Your Case

In Colorado, installing an ignition interlock device is a common penalty for DUI and DWAI convictions, as well as for drivers who refuse to submit to a chemical test. The duration of the required IID period depends on the specifics of the offense and the driver’s history.

While the costs associated with IIDs can be burdensome, they allow offenders to regain some driving privileges and rebuild their lives after a DUI or DWAI conviction.

If you or someone you know is facing DUI or DWAI charges in Colorado, it is essential to consult with an experienced DUI attorney to protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome for your case. The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC is here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.


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