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What is an Interlock Restricted License in Colorado?

On behalf of Dolan + Zimmerman LLP January 28, 2022

If you were convicted of driving under the influence, you may have heard that you will be required to install an interlock device in your vehicle in order to obtain a restricted license for a period of time. While having this installed can be costly and inconvenient, it allows individuals to operate a vehicle when otherwise they may be prohibited from doing so. If you have any questions about the interlock device, an interlock restricted license, or anything else related to driving under the influence, contact a Boulder DUI defense attorney for help right away. 

After you’ve had your license suspended, a restricted license allows you to operate your vehicle in certain situations before you’re fully able to reinstate your driving privileges. This type of license is obtained after an individual is convicted for driving under the influence and their license is suspended. Typically, the interlock restricted license allows a person to drive to and from school, during certain times of the day, and it enables them to drive to doctor and court appointments or other important court-mandated appointments. When you have a restricted license in Colorado, you are not allowed to drive outside of the state. 

Requirements for a Restricted License

In order to be eligible for a restricted license, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You are a Colorado resident
  • You were 21 years or older at the time of the DUI arrest
  • You have applied for a reinstatement of your license
  • You paid the reinstatement application fee
  • You completed drug and alcohol certification 
  • If your BAC at the time of your arrest was .15% or higher, you must have completed an alcohol education and therapy course
  • Agreed to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle and signed the agreement
  • Purchased SR-22 insurance and show the court proof that you have done so. Coverage must be for up to 3 years

How Does the Ignition Interlock Device Work?

An ignition interlock device is essentially a breathalyzer machine that is installed in your car. In order to start up the car, and drive your vehicle, you will have to blow into the machine to prove that you do not have any alcohol in your system. You will sometimes be required to blow into the machine as you are driving as well to keep the car operating. This is done so that individuals with the interlock device in their car doesn’t get drunk and then have a sober person blow into the machine before the car is started so the convicted person can drive drunk. 

In order to prevent accidents while blowing into a machine while actually driving a car, these random breath tests that must be done while the individual is driving usually allow between 4 and 6 minutes to pull over the car and blow into the machine. This allows the driver to safely prove that they are alcohol free.

Price of Ignition Interlock Device

While it’s definitely helpful to be able to drive with a restricted license instead of having your license suspended for an extended period of time, it is sometimes an expense that people just can’t afford. In Colorado, it typically costs between $70 and $200 to install the device. It then costs between $60 and $90 per month to maintain the device. Maintaining the device requires the individual who has the device in their car to bring it to the interlock device company to be calibrated. Not only is this a monthly expense, but it also takes time out of a person’s day and may interrupt their work schedule or their ability to pick up their kids from school. Still, it’s often a better option than not being able to drive at all.    

If you need to have an ignition interlock device installed or you are trying to have your license reinstated earlier than your sentence originally allowed, or if you have any other questions regarding an interlock restricted license, contact us today for assistance.