Ignition Interlock Requirements in Colorado

DUI convictions, some DWAI convictions, and DMV revocations trigger voluntary and mandatory ignition interlock requirements in Colorado. An ignition interlock device determines whether a person has consumed alcohol before attempting to drive. Often this is referred to as a car breathalyzer. The interlock requests a breath sample when starting a vehicle, as well as roaming tests. A roaming test is when the device requests a breath sample while the vehicle is in motion.

An ignition interlock device is usually part of a person’s reinstatement requirements if convicted of DUI or based on a drivers’ license revocation. The length of this requirement depends on what a person is convicted of or revoked from. For example, any DMV revocation for a refusal or with a BAC of 0.15 or more requires interlock for two-years.

Can I remove an interlock early in Colorado?

The most frequents question regarding ignition interlock devices is whether they can be removed early. The answer depends on why a person’s driver’s license was revoked. If a person was revoked for having an excess BAC (0.08 or more) on a first offense, and their BAC was under 0.15, then the device may be removed early. Typically, this is after four complete months of compliance. If a person, however, is revoked on a first excess BAC revocation and had a 0.15 or more BAC, the person cannot remove the device early and must maintain it for two full years.

On a refusal revocation, an interlock device is required as a condition of reinstatement for two full years. There are no early removal options on a refusal revocation, which means the person must maintain the interlock for two full years.

If a person has a prior DUI-type conviction or revocation on their driving record, the mandatory interlock period is also two-years with no early removal available. This means if a person is revoked at a DMV hearing with a BAC of .085, but they have a prior DWAI from 20 years ago on their Colorado driving record, the person must maintain interlock for two full years.

Court convictions also cause drivers’ license revocations and interlock requirements upon reinstatement. If a person is convicted of DUI-1st offense, a nine-month revocation occurs. The driver may reinstate after one-month of no driving with an interlock. The tricky part to all of this is that what happens at a DMV hearing can supersede a court conviction.

Does a Dismissal in Court Allow Removal of Interlock?

Another frequent question is whether a dismissal of a DUI charge or not guilty verdict allows removal of interlock. Unfortunately, if a person was revoked at a DMV hearing or failed to timely request it, the answer is usually no. As the DMV and the courts operate separately, what happens in court does not overturn what happened at the DMV, and vice-versa. There are many instances where a person is not revoked at a DMV hearing but is convicted in court. Also are instances where a person is acquitted in court but is revoked by the DMV.

For questions about interlock requirements, the Colorado Department of Revenue’s reinstatement help line at 303-205-5631.