Colorado law mandates that ignition interlock drivers are required to extend their ignition interlock lease agreements by a period of 12 months when it is reported by their ignition interlock provider that the ignition interlock device has prevented the operation of a motor vehicle in 3 of 12 consecutive reporting periods due to excessive alcohol. This information is downloaded by the ignition interlock provider and submitted to DMV when it appears that the threshold for a suspension has been met. Thus, it is critically important to always request a hearing regarding alleged ignition interlock violations.
The suspension process is initiated when DMV sends out a violation notice letter to a respondent indicating that the respondent is alleged to have violated the terms and conditions of the interlock device. A respondent must then either submit a new igntiion interlock lease agreement (with a 12 month extension) by the deadline indicated in the letter. Or, the respondent must request a hearing on the matter. A respondent should never simply agree to the ignition interlock extension. A hearing should always be requested. At the hearing, the extension may be either rescinded, reduced, or sustained.
For example, an ignition interlock violation suspension hearing will be initiated if a driver has 5 violations in August 2015 and then 8 violations in November 2015 and 1 violation in December 2015. On the other hand, a suspension will not be initiated if a driver has 5 reported violations in August 2015 and 15 reported violations in November 2015. Why? Because violations in 3 reporting periods must be shown. In the latter example, fails from only 2 violation periods have been shown. In other words, the sheer number of violations alone does not trigger an action from the Division of Motor Vehicles. The action is only triggered if failures of the device prevent the operation of a motor vehicle in 3 separate reporting periods out of 12 consecutive periods.
And another thing, rolling retests don’t count. Although an action may be triggered due to rolling retests, theses “fails” should not be upheld at an ignition interlock violation hearing. Why? Because they don’t fit the textbook definition of a fail.
The threshold alcohol detection level which triggers a fail is .025 BAC. This figure is set by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in 5 CCR 1005-3 and is defined as the “setpoint value”.
Many interferents may cause this setpoint value to trigger a “fail” aside from a driver drinking alcohol. This is a false positive. Some known causes include mouthwash, windshield washer fluid, contaminants from orthodontics/oral appliances, spicy foods, energy drinks, sweets such as cookies and donuts, mouthspray, chewing tobacco, and many other reported interferents.