Will You Need to Install an Ignition Interlock Device?

If you are charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in the Denver area, contact a Denver DUI lawyer at once for the legal advice and representation you will need. After a conviction for DUI, you may need to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your vehicle.

An ignition interlock device is a miniature breathalyzer device that is about the size of a cell phone. It prevents anyone who is under the influence of alcohol from starting a motor vehicle. The device also requires occasional alcohol-free breath samples to keep a vehicle in motion.

When will someone need to have an ignition interlock device installed? If you have an IID installed in your own vehicle, how long will you have to keep it there? If you are charged with DUI in this state, how will a Denver DUI attorney fight for justice on your behalf?

For the answers you may need if you are charged with DUI in the Denver area – and for more about your rights in this state as a DUI defendant – keep reading this brief discussion of ignition interlock devices and DUI in Colorado.

How Does an IID Work?

Ignition interlock devices measure a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level. The device is connected to a vehicle’s steering column. To start the vehicle, an ignition interlock device needs an alcohol-free breath sample from the driver.

If alcohol is detected in the breath sample, the vehicle will not start. Once the vehicle is started, retesting of the driver’s breath is required at random intervals in order to keep the vehicle moving.

What Can You Do if Your License Has Been Suspended?

A DUI conviction in Colorado prompts a mandatory driver’s license suspension, but most convicted first-time DUI offenders may apply immediately for a “restricted” driver’s license.

A restricted driver’s license allows you to drive to school, to work, or to pick up your children, but it requires you to install an ignition interlock device in your personal vehicle and to prove that your breath is alcohol-free whenever you drive.

What is Required for IID Installation?

Only a state-approved Colorado IID provider may install an ignition interlock device, so don’t purchase one and try to install it yourself. If you fail three IID breath tests in a twelve-month time period, the length of time you will be required to use an IID will be extended by a year.

If you tamper with an IID, the restricted license may be revoked. IID tampering is a Class 2 misdemeanor in this state, and a conviction may be penalized with jail time and/or a costly fine. Tampering includes removing or altering an IID or having someone give you a breath sample.

Who Pays for an IID?

Drivers in Colorado who have restricted licenses pay for the installation and maintenance of the IIDs in their vehicles. Costs vary, but typically you will pay about $200 for the installation of an ignition interlock device and about $100 a month for calibration and maintenance. 

You may, however, be eligible for financial help from the State of Colorado for an IID if you satisfy these conditions:

  1. It is your first conviction for DUI.
  2. You are a U.S. citizen, a Colorado resident, and age 21 or older.
  3. You are at or below the poverty level as demonstrated by your Colorado tax returns.

How Soon May an IID Be Removed?

You may qualify to have an IID removed from your vehicle after only four months if you satisfy these conditions:

  1. It is your first conviction for DUI.
  2. You measured a BAC level under 0.15 percent when you were arrested.
  3. You were 21 years old or older when you were arrested.
  4. You are a resident of Colorado.
  5. You have fully complied with all IID requirements for at least four consecutive months.

If you meet the requirements, your Denver DUI lawyer can ask the court for permission to have the ignition interlock device removed.

What is Colorado’s DUI Law?

In the State of Colorado, your first three DUI offenses are misdemeanors if you did not cause any accidents, injuries, or fatalities. The penalties that can be imposed on adult drivers (21 and older) who receive a misdemeanor, first-offense DUI conviction in this state may include:

  1.  jail time
  2.  a costly fine
  3.  community service
  4.  mandatory alcohol education classes
  5.  a nine-month driver’s license suspension (with eligibility for a restricted license)

DUI is charged as a felony in Colorado in either of these circumstances:

  1.  The driver killed or seriously injured another person.
  2.  It is the driver’s fourth (or subsequent) driving under the influence offense.

For a fourth DUI offense to be charged as a felony in this state, it doesn’t matter how far back the previous convictions happened. If you were convicted three times for DUI in your 30s, and you are 70 when you are charged a fourth time, your fourth offense will be considered a felony.

What Else Does a DUI Conviction Entail?

Along with the legal penalties, a DUI conviction also entails extra-legal consequences. Your auto insurance will cost more. If your work involves driving, it may not be easy to keep or find employment.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, a DUI conviction may trigger a removal proceeding. If you hold a professional license in Colorado, a driving under the influence conviction may prompt disciplinary action by your state licensing board.

What’s Important to Remember?

Being charged and arrested for DUI does not mean that you will face the penalties for a DUI conviction. A conviction requires a prosecutor to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but a Denver DUI attorney will cast doubt on the prosecutor’s case and fight on your behalf.

However, if the evidence is persuasive and your conviction is a foregone conclusion, your lawyer may negotiate to have the charge or the sentence reduced. Whatever the details are in your own case, your Denver DUI defense lawyer will work to bring the case to its best possible conclusion.

If you’re placed under arrest and charged with driving under the influence in or near the Denver area, reach out for legal help at once by calling Denver DUI defense attorney Daniel M. Murphy at 303-996-8998. If you’re facing a driving under the influence charge, your first consultation with attorney Daniel Murphy will be provided with no cost or obligation.

Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

Denver criminal defense lawyer Daniel M. Murphy provides clients in the Denver area with aggressive and sympathetic legal representation. He graduated from the University of Denver Law School in 1994 and worked as a public defender before starting his own practice in 1996. He has defended clients accused of the most difficult criminal and alcohol-related charges. He also serves as a Moot Court Judge for Denver-area law students who rely on his mentorship.