Being arrested and charged with a DUI offense has severe penalties. Colorado State has recently stiffened its drunk driving penalties. The law allows police officers to confiscate your license if they arrest you with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or above.

Other penalties include fines, jail time, public service, alcohol classes, and ignition interlock installation, even for first-time offenders. Defending yourself against DUI charges is complex, and your best chance at having the penalties reduced or dropped is to work with a skilled criminal defense lawyer in Colorado. The lawyer can help you create a strong defense strategy.

What Are Colorado’s Ignition Interlock Laws?

Colorado has an ignition interlock-restricted license program and requirements laid out by the State Division of Motor Vehicles. While the interlock requirement has existed since 2009, the state stiffened the penalties in 2014 for persistent drunk driving.

While all 50 states have ignition interlock laws, they differ in Colorado in that all residents convicted of DUI must have ignition interlock devices installed to get a restricted license, including people convicted for the first time.

The law also affects anyone caught with a BAC of 0.08 or above, even without a conviction. For a better understanding of DUI laws, consult an experienced Colorado Springs DUI lawyer for legal counsel. A skilled attorney can explain the risks of a DUI charge and conviction and your options in defending yourself.

When Am I Required to Get an Ignition Interlock Device?

Colorado laws define specific circumstances under which you’re required to install an ignition interlock device:

If Criminally Convicted of DUI or Administratively Convicted of Excess BAC

After your first excess BAC or DUI conviction, you’ll be required to serve one month of revocation with an ignition interlock, after which you’ll be eligible for early reinstatement. That happens on condition that you don’t have other restraints in effect at the time of the offense or when you apply for early reinstatement. 

The length of the ignition interlock largely depends on your BAC level;

  • BAC of 0.15 or less – 8 months’ interlock requirement with eligibility to remove after four consecutive months of compliance 
  • BAC of more than 0.15 – 2-year interlock requirement that also results in the Division of Motor Vehicles designating you as a Persistent Drunk Driver by statute, regardless of whether you’re a first-time offender. 

With a second and third excess BAC conviction, you’ll get a 2-year interlock penalty regardless of when you reinstate. However, you may reinstate early after serving one month of the sentence. An experienced DUI lawyer in Colorado Springs may be able to defend you against the penalties after investigating the circumstances surrounding your case.

If Administratively Convicted for not Submitting to Chemical Testing

Refusing to take a BAC test leads to an automatic 2-year interlock requirement upon reinstatement. You’ll also be eligible for early reinstatement after serving two months of the revocation on the condition that you don’t have other restraints in effect at the time of the offense or when you apply for early reinstatement.

A first, second, third, or subsequent offense of refusing to submit to chemical testing attracts a 2-year interlock requirement after serving two months of the revocation.

If Criminally Convicted of a 2nd Alcohol-Related Driving Offense in 5 Years

After serving one month of revocation with the interlock, you’ll be eligible for early reinstatement. However, that’s on condition that you have no other restraints in effect at the time of the offense and when you seek reinstatement.

You Were Criminally Convicted for an Alcohol-Related Driving Offense for a 3rd or Subsequent Time

You’ll get an automatic 2-year interlock requirement and be eligible for early reinstatement after serving one month of revocation with an ignition interlock. That’s on condition that you don’t have other active restraints at the time of the offense or when you seek early reinstatement.

What Are the Consequences of Non-Compliance and Enforcement of Ignition Interlock?

Attempting to circumvent the proper functioning of the interlock device or driving without one contrary to court-imposed restrictions may expose you to a license revocation with no driving for at least one year.

The requirement is for an interlock-restricted driver to service the interlock device every sixty days. Failure to report for device servicing carries the risk of license suspension with no driving until you become compliant again. If your interlock provider cancels the lease before you complete your requirements, you’ll be suspended until you have a new lease agreement.

Driving under the influence in three of any twelve consecutive months may subject you to suspension and additional time on the interlock requirement. If the device prevents your car from starting after detecting alcohol, you’ll get another year for each set of three fails.

Am I Eligible for Early Removal of Ignition Interlock in Colorado?

In Colorado, first-time offenders may be eligible for early ignition interlock removal if they meet the following conditions:

  • They are at least 21 years of at the time of the offense.
  • The conviction that led to the initial license revocation must have been for a first-time offense DUI or DUI per se, which requires suspension for only nine months.
  • They have met the reinstatement requirements.

Repeat offenders and first-time offenders designated as persistent drunk drivers for refusing to submit to a chemical test or high BAC don’t qualify for early ignition removal.

An Aggressive Legal Representative Defending Your Against DUI Charges

DUI charges come with hefty penalties upon conviction in Colorado, and fighting the charges can be challenging if you don’t know how the law works. It’s always advisable to contact a skilled and aggressive criminal defense attorney in Colorado as soon as possible to help you create a strong defense strategy.

Our Colorado DUI defense attorney can help you fight for your rights to prevent possible jail time and hefty penalties associated with a DUI conviction. We understand the strategies prosecutors might use when bringing charges against you, and we can put our skills to work to fight them. We fight hard to protect clients’ rights. Get started by giving us a call.