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Colorado drunk driving laws change next week

Next week marks the start of a new year. While many people will be focusing on planning their celebrations it is also important that people understand their rights pertaining to drunk driving issues. Because the laws are changing on Jan. 1, many people would be wise to understand their rights before heading out for New Year's Eve celebrations.

After the clock has counted down and Jan. 1 begins, anyone who refuses a Breathalyzer test or blood test will be treated as a persistent drunk driver. This is an increased severity from being treated as a drunk driver in Colorado. It means that people who refuse to submit to blood alcohol content testing through a blood test or Breathalyzer will be required to use an ignition interlock device if they want their license back during the suspension period, and they will have to wait two months before applying for the device.

Currently, a persistent drunk driver is someone who is pulled over with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .17 or higher. As of New Year's Day, people who have a (BAC) of .15 or higher will be treated as persistent drunk drivers. These drivers are required to use an ignition interlock device to get their license back during the suspension period.

Last week, the U.S. Transportation Secretary said that all states should require ignition interlock devices for first time drunk driving convictions. This would come at an increased expense to those who are convicted, as well as potential embarrassment from having the device.

Source: ABC 7, "Starting on Jan. 1, drivers who refuse sobriety tests will be labeled 'persistent drunk drivers'," Marshall Zelinger, Dec. 17, 2013

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