Tampering with an approved ignition interlock device is illegal in Colorado. Subsection 11 of C.R.S. section 42-2-132.5 provides:
(11) Tampering with an approved ignition interlock device. (a) A person shall not intercept, bypass, or interfere with or aid any other person in intercepting, bypassing, or interfering with an approved ignition interlock device for the purpose of preventing or hindering the lawful operation or purpose of the approved ignition interlock device required under this section.
(b) A person whose privilege to drive is restricted to the operation of a motor vehicle equipped with an approved ignition interlock device shall not drive a motor vehicle in which an approved ignition interlock device is installed pursuant to this section if the person knows that any person has intercepted, bypassed, or interfered with the approved ignition interlock device.
(c) A person violating any provision of this subsection (11) commits a class 1 misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-501, C.R.S. (emphasis added)
The penalties for a class 1 misdemeanor in Colorado is a minimum sentence of 6 months in jail or a $500 fine, or both. However, the court has an option to impose probation. The maximum sentence for a class 1 misdemeanor is 18 months in jail or a $5,000 fine or both.
It is also important to know that you can lose your driving privileges regardless of whether you are criminally charged or convicted of tampering with an interlock. The Colorado DMV has a very broad definition of “tampering” when it comes to the interlock program, and as a result, tampering with an interlock is considered to be an attempt to circumvent it. If you are caught tampering with the interlock, even if it is unsuccessful, you will be treated no differently than if you actually circumvented it.
If your interlock maintenance technician suspects you of tampering with the interlock after reviewing the data from your device, he or she can independently file an administrative request with the DMV to revoke your driving privileges. Notice of these filings would come to you by mail, and you would have the opportunity to challenge the revocation at an administrative hearing before the Department of Revenue.
If you are charged with or suspected of tampering with an interlock in Colorado, you need to contact an experienced Denver DUI attorney so they can assist you in the time-sensitive process of making sure you are preserving all of your rights and your privilege to drive.