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What is an Ignition Interlock? How Will it Help My Case?

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If you are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Colorado, using an ignition interlock device can help take some of the sting out of your potential license revocation. It is installed in your vehicle to prevent you from starting the engine and driving if you have been drinking. This technology is increasingly popular because it allows defendants to continue to drive but not if they are intoxicated. 

What is an Ignition Interlock? 

It is essentially a breathalyzer that is connected to your vehicle’s ignition system. Based on the alcohol content of your breath, it will estimate how much alcohol is in your blood (your blood alcohol content or BAC).  

Before you can start the engine, you must blow into the device and provide a breath sample to determine a blood alcohol content (BAC) level. If your BAC is above a given limit (0.025 or greater; 0.08 is the state’s “per se” DUI BAC level), the engine will not start. After the car starts, the device may force you to use it again while driving your vehicle.  

How Will an Ignition Interlock Help Me? 

If you are convicted of DUI, you will likely lose your driver’s license for at least nine months, and maybe longer if you have had prior DUI convictions. You may be allowed to have early reinstatement of your license before the nine months passes. One requirement would be to have an ignition interlock device in your car. 

If it is your first DUI conviction, and you submitted to a BAC test upon arrest, you can seek early reinstatement of your license on the first day after your revocation begins. If you refused a BAC test at the time of arrest, you can apply for reinstatement 60 days after your revocation begins. To be approved for early reinstatement, you will be required to keep the interlock ignition in your vehicle for at least nine months, with a chance to remove it after four months. (It would be at least two years if you refused a BAC test or if this is a 2nd or subsequent DUI, and it would be three years if the BAC that led to your arrest was 0.15 or higher). Colorado residents need to pay to have the ignition interlock installed (generally $70 to $200), and a monthly maintenance fee of $60 to $90.  

What Can I Do If I Can’t Afford an Ignition Interlock? 

The state’s Department of Revenue provides financial assistance for first-time offenders or those designated as persistent drunk drivers who cannot pay the full costs. If you qualify and funds are available, the Department may pay a portion of the cost of an interlock device. The following criteria apply:  

  • You are lawfully in the US and a state resident 
  • You were 21 years old or older at the time of the violation 
  • Your federal adjusted gross income falls within a predetermined percentage of the current poverty guidelines established by the federal Health and Human Services 

Contact Churchill DUI Defense If You Need Help with a DUI charge in Colorado 

If you are charged with DUI, DWAI, or DUID and you are trying to find the best way to handle your situation, Churchill DUI Defense can help. Depending on the facts and applicable law, you may have strong defenses that can result in charges being dismissed or reduced. A plea bargain agreement, including your use of an ignition interlock device, may be the best resolution for your case. 

If you have questions about these devices or are confused about their requirements, Attorney Kevin Churchill can help. He has helped clients facing DUI charges for more than two decades. When you retain him, you are hiring an attorney who cares about your case as much as you do. Contact us today at (303) 832-9000 or use our easy online contact form to schedule a free consultation.