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How do ignition interlock devices work in Colorado?

One of the penalties that may follow a drunk driving conviction or a breath test refusal in Colorado is the requirement that the driver have an ignition interlock device installed on his or her vehicle. In general, what does such a device do, and what happens in the case of noncompliance?

An ignition interlock device is a machine that can stop a motor vehicle from operating if the driver has a certain amount of alcohol in his or her system. The device is installed on the vehicle. The driver blows into the device before driving. If the device detects an elevated level of alcohol in the driver's breath, the vehicle will not start. Individuals may also be required to blow into the device periodically while operating their vehicle. If the ignition interlock device detects an elevated level of alcohol in the driver's breath, preventing the operation of the vehicle in three of twelve consecutive months, the individual's driver's license may be suspended and the driver may have to keep the ignition interlock device installed on his or her vehicle for as much as one additional year per three fails.

What are the consequences if a driver who is required to have an ignition interlock device tampers with the device or operates a vehicle that does not have one? If this happens, the driver could lose his or her driver's license for at least one year. Moreover, drivers who are required to have ignition interlock devices must have these devices serviced every 60 days. If a driver does not do so, his or her driver's license could be suspended until he or she complies with such servicing.

As you can see, having an ignition interlock device can be more than just an inconvenience -- the failure to comply with such devices can lead to significant negative consequences. Individuals in Colorado facing drunk driving charges may want to seek legal help.

Source: Colorado Department of Revenue, "Ignition Interlock Restricted License," accessed March 14, 2016

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