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Study: Ignition interlocks viewed as "too lenient" in many states

Here in Colorado, we recently toughened our approach to drunk driving by enabling prosecutors to bring felony DUI charges against someone arrested for a fourth or subsequent offense. Along with other measures adopted over the years, we have emerged as one of the toughest states in which to be arrested for drunken driving.

A new study indicates that Colorado might still be viewed as easygoing by its neighbors. University of Kansas researchers have found that states that require first-time DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles are often viewed as "too lenient."

As you know, Colorado requires those convicted of a first driving under the influence offense to have an ignition interlock installed. First offenders here typically have their driver's license suspended for 9 months. However, after a month they can typically apply to have a restricted license; one that requires installation of an ignition interlock device.

The devices require drivers to submit a breath sample before their vehicle can be driven.

Slightly less than half of the 50 states require the devices installed in first-time offenders' vehicles. All states have an ignition interlock device law, but most require installation for a second or subsequent DUI.

A researcher said the devices aren't seen as "really punitive" mainly because an offender doesn't go to jail and is allowed to continue driving.

People in other states might not realize that here in Colorado, a person convicted of DUI can be ordered to spend time in jail as well as have a device installed in their car. It's not necessarily one or the other.

For those facing the possibilities of jail, device installation, fines, required alcohol education classes and more, it's hard to know what to do or say in court or at the DMV. That's why it's so important to have at your side an experienced Denver DUI defense attorney.


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