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Why does someone have an ignition interlock?

An ignition interlock can be like an electronic shadow, accompanying you on every trip you take in your car. For some people ordered to have an ignition interlock installed in their vehicle, the device is also a nuisance and a nag, demanding to be reassured that you are not impaired by alcohol before you can start your car and drive off.

The reason why some Colorado residents have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles is because they have been convicted of driving under the influence or because they have refused to allow a police officer to test your breath or blood to help determine the level of alcohol in your system.

Before starting a vehicle, a person must blow into the ignition interlock device, giving it a breath sample. If the machine detects an unacceptable level of alcohol, the car will not start.

A state website says people who can be ordered by a court to have an ignition interlock device installed at their expense in their vehicle include the following:

  • Someone convicted of their first DUI with a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent or higher
  • A driver who has a second DUI conviction within a five-year period
  • Someone who has a third DUI conviction in their lifetime
  • A driver who refused to have their breath or blood tested after they were pulled over   

The cost of the device is typically around $800 to $1,000 per year. Unfortunately, that's just one of many penalties the state imposes on DUI drivers. A criminal defense attorney will discuss available legal options.

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