The state of Colorado has stiffened its drunk driving penalties in recent years. Police automatically confiscate your license if you are arrested with a BAC of 0.08 or above. You will also face jail time, fines, alcohol classes, public service, and interlock requirements. While all 50 states have ignition interlock laws, Colorado requires ALL residents convicted of drunk driving to have ignition interlock devices installed in order to get a restricted license. That includes first-time offenders. Before we get into the specifics of how many times you can fail interlock in Colorado, let’s look at the broader picture.
Colorado’s Ignition Interlock Law
The state Division of Motor Vehicles lays out Colorado’s ignition interlock restricted license program and requirements. The state has had an interlock requirement since 2009 and stiffened the penalties for persistent drunk driving in 2014. Like every other state, Colorado has criminal penalties and administrative penalties for someone convicted of DUI. The interlock administrative penalties also affect anyone who had a blood-alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 or above, even if you are not convicted. This is called a Per Se offense. You are also required to get an interlock if you refused to submit to chemical testing.
Interlock Requirements if You Are Arrested for Driving Under the Influence
If police arrested you for driving under the influence (DUI) in Colorado, here is what you can expect as far as your license revocation and your first Per Se, or conviction:
- BAC above 0.15 — You may be eligible to reinstate early after serving one month of license revocation, with a two-year interlock requirement.
- Low BAC — You may be eligible to reinstate early after serving one month of revocation, with an eight-month Interlock requirement.
The length of time you are required to have the ignition interlock device installed increases for subsequent offenses, or if you are deemed a Persistent Drunk Driver (PDD). Colorado automatically designates you a PDD if your BAC on your latest DUI arrest was over 0.15, or if you refuse the chemical test at a traffic stop. The interlock penalty for refusing to submit to chemical testing is an automatic two-year interlock requirement, regardless of whether it was your first offense, or if you actually had a high enough BAC to face charges.
How Many Times You Can Fail the Interlock in Colorado
So now, the answer to the question. A test failure happens when the device detects a 0.025 BAC or higher, either at startup or on a rolling retest. If you believe you failed the test accidentally (mouthwash or something else caused the BAC reading), you should notify the DMV, your DUI lawyer, and your interlock vendor ASAP.
How Many Times You Can Fail the Interlock Before Consequences
You can fail the interlock three times in 12 months before you face serious consequences. Under the law, if the interlock device prevents you from starting your car because it detected a 0.025 BAC or higher in three of any 12 consecutive months, you may face license suspension and additional time on your ignition interlock requirement.
This may be up to one additional year for each set of 3 failed tests. Your additional time with the interlock will be decided at an extension hearing, as described in the Colorado Code having to do with interlock restricted licenses.
The three failed tests can be in one month, or three separate months. And the months don’t have to be consecutive. So as you can see, unless you want to keep adding a year onto your interlock requirement, your best move is to not attempt to drink and drive. Carpool. Call Uber or Lyft. Just don’t get behind the wheel.
Choosing an Ignition Interlock Device Provider in Colorado
When it comes time to choose an ignition interlock device provider in Colorado, you must choose a state-approved vendor. This is not a situation where you can order a device on Amazon and install it yourself. Choose a vendor who has a location convenient to where you live and work, because you will have to take your vehicle in for service visits at least every 60 days.
In general, you can expect an interlock device to cost you about $3 a day, or $90-$100 a month, after initial installation costs. Most vendors don’t charge to remove the device after you’ve completed your restricted driving program unless they find you have somehow damaged the device.
ALCOLOCK™ strives to make ignition interlock device installation easy and affordable. For more information call ALCOLOCK™ at (866) 700-9300.