Drivers accused of Driving Under the Influence in Colorado will face stiffer consequences come January 1, 2009. Currently adult drivers who are enduring their first DUI accusation (called a “per se revocation”) face the possibility of losing their privilege to drive for three months. If those driving privileges are revoked then that driver would be eligible after thirty days to request a Probationary Drivers License (a.k.a. “PDL” or “Red License”). All of that is about to change come the new year.
The new law will change the old paradigm and require a nine month revocation rather than three months. A driver may obtain a Probationary Drivers License after one month as long as that driver installs an interlock device in their car. The interlock device requires the driver to blow into a tube to ensure that the driver is sober before the car will start. If that driver has four clean months on the interlock device then the new law would allow that driver to reinstate their drivers license earlier than they would have been had they just decided to endure the full nine months of revocation. The driver’s ultimate length of revocation comes down to a decision between either a total a five months (with the interlock device) or nine months (with absolutely no driving privileges). At least one longstanding law remains in effect. That is the law of unintended consequences. In October 2008 the Denver Post reported that “[s]ince 1992, 142,913 people have been convicted up to five times each in Colorado for driving after their licenses were suspended or revoked…”.
In a day and age where a person’s life and livelihood are almost completely dependent upon effective and accessible transportation these numbers are not at all hard to understand. However, by increasing the length of DUI revocations one might ask if we are in fact going to contribute to greater numbers of folks who are accused of driving while they are under suspension? Also troubling is to speculate as to who might be at the greatest risk because of the new DUI law. An interlock device is not the cheapest of devices to install and maintain in a car. It costs money to install and the driver also has to pay a daily fee to operate the machine. Are we setting up the “average joe” for failure with this new law by mandating that if they want to drive they need this expensive machine installed? Unfortunately in these tough economic times Coloradoans who find themselves dealing with a DUI may have to make the unfortunate decision as to whether they CAN afford to drive or whether they CANNOT afford to drive. We may have limited the ability to drive in Colorado to those drivers who can afford to drive. Whatever the impact this new law has on the number of people who ultimately choose to drive while revoked has yet to be seen. However, if the law of unintended consequences is to be of any guide then we can be sure that the number of those driving while revoked will only continue to increase. Thereby only compounding the courts and jails with more and more driving related cases.
I have posted a ink to the Denver Post’s story below. http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_10639339
Your state government is doing everything it can to punish people who drink and drive. While we hope you benefit from the information we posted above, it is important to note that we always suggest you contact an attorney to advise you and walk you through the legal process so that you can achieve the best possible result.