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Starting up a conversation about the ignition interlock

On Behalf of | Oct 22, 2014 | Breath Test Refusal |

Some Denver drivers who have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles are not really drivers at all. When the would-be drivers use the ignition interlock, they can sometimes find that the device prevents their vehicle from starting.

In some cases, vehicles are prevented from starting because the device has detected alcohol in the breath of the would-be driver. In other cases, the device registers a false positive; that it, the device analyzes the would-be driver’s breath, comes to an incorrect conclusion that alcohol is present in the breath and disables the vehicle. 

As you know, ignition interlock devices are installed in vehicles belonging to people convicted of a first DUI or DUI per se offense and others. According to the state of Colorado, “DUI per se” refers to someone driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more.

Colorado’s Division of Motor Vehicles states that if the ignition interlock prevents a person from driving three times in any 12-month period, the person can be subject to suspension of their driver’s license and also subject to an extension of the period in which they’re required to have the ignition interlock.

An ignition interlock maker’s website says false positives do indeed happen. It cites several examples of when harmless, legal activities can trigger false positives: using mouthwash and eating spicy food.

The site notes that many brands of mouthwash contain alcohol that may then trigger the false positive.

Spicy food can react with the digestive chemicals in a person’s stomach and again result in a false positive.  

Lastly, interlock ignition devices sometimes simply malfunction and give a false positive.

In many cases, Denver DUI attorneys can help drivers arrested for driving under the influence avoid being required to have an ignition interlock installed in their vehicles. An attorney can help you understand more about those circumstances and ways in which you can fight to retain your driving privileges.