Colorado DUI and Ignition Interlock Devices

In 2009, Colorado joined several other states in requiring first-time drunk drivers to install ignition interlock devices (IIDs) in their vehicles. The IID is in addition to the court-imposed DUI penalties of fines, jail time, community service and drug or alcohol counseling. The goal of the IID legislation was to take control away from those who allegedly cannot exercise self-control.

An ignition interlock device is a fist-sized electronic device mounted to a car's dashboard that tests the driver's breath alcohol content (BAC) before he or she starts the car. If the driver's BAC is over the state-imposed limit (usually between 0.02 and 0.04 percent), the car will not start.

The person required to test BAC is responsible for the installation, rental and maintenance fees associated with the IID, which could add up to hundreds of dollars a month.

Colorado Penalties for DUI Offenses

Colorado has two tiers of alcohol related driving offenses: DUI (driving under the influence) and DWAI (driving while ability impaired). DUI is considered driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more while DWAI is driving with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08 percent.

A first-time DWAI offender is subject to 48 hours to six months of jail time with a fine between $200 and $500. There is also a 24 to 48 hour community service requirement, but no mandatory license suspension.

As for a first-time DUI offense, the jail term ranges from five days to one year, which may be suspended in exchange for an alcohol treatment program. Someone convicted of DUI must perform between 48 and 96 community service hours and pay between $600 and $1,000. The offender's license is suspended for nine months, but after one month, a restricted license is available with the installation of an IID in his or her car.

A second DWAI or DUI offense will result in 10 days to one year in jail, with a fine of $600 to $1,500 and 48 to 120 community service hours. The license suspension period is one year. A third DWAI or DUI triggers up to two years' license suspension and at least 60 days in jail. For a second DUI in five years, and any subsequent DUI convictions, an IID is required after the license suspension period is over.

The consequences of a DUI or even a DWAI conviction are serious and can affect your job, finances and family life. If you have been charged with a DUI or DWAI, contact an experienced Colorado DUI lawyer to discuss your situation, review your options and protect your future.

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