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 ignition 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 At the hearing, the extension may be either rescinded, reduced, or sustained.
A violation must be shown to interrupt or prevent the normal operation of the vehicle in 3 of 12 consecutive reporting periods.
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.
It is imperative in ignition interlock violation hearings that the complete interlock reports be acquired from the interlock company and investigated well in advance of the hearing. Often times due to the sheer number of interlock violation hearings being held the reports are sent out by DMV only a few days in advance of the hearing. This shortens the time period the respondent has to investigate the reports and prepare for the hearing. The ignition interlock reports tell a very detailed story of the history of the use of the machine and are vital in defense preparation.
Attorney Robbins is experienced in representing clients at Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicle, Ignition Interlock Suspension Hearings. Contact Attorney Robbins today for a free case evaluation regarding your ignition interlock violation issues. Mr. Robbins has offices in Denver, Greeley, and Fort Collins and can be reached at 303-355-5148 or 970-301-5541.