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Can I get early removal of an interlock in Colorado?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jan 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

Early removal of an ignition interlock device (IID) is possible if the following five criteria are met:

  1. The defendant is a first-time DUI offender;
  2. The defendant's blood alcohol content (BAC) was less than 0.15%;
  3. The defendant was 21 at the time of the DUI;
  4. The defendant is a Colorado resident; and
  5. The defendant was in full IID compliance for four straight months

Therefore, early removal of IIDs is unavailable to repeat DUI offenders or persistent drunk drivers.

Below is the step-by-step process for getting an IID removed early in Colorado

1. Use the IID for four months without incident

After first-time DUI defendants get convicted, the court will impose a nine-month driver's license suspension. But once one month passes, they may be able to get a restricted driver's license for the remaining eight months.

As a condition of having a restricted license, defendants need to drive with an IID. Then if they use the IID successfully for four consecutive months, they can apply for an early removal and an unrestricted driver's license.

In order for a defendant to be in 100% compliance with IID requirements, the defendant must have passed every breath test. This means that the defendant never blew a BAC of 0.025% or more. Additionally, the defendant must not have tampered with or otherwise interrupted the device's normal operation.

Note that this four-month period starts the day the restricted license was granted, not on the day the interlock was installed.

2. Contact the IID company

After the four months of compliance pass, defendants can call the company that installed the IID. They should tell the company to fax a "letter of compliance" to the Colorado DMV.

In Colorado, the companies that install IIDs include:

Note that defendants may have to call these companies more than once to get the compliance letter faxed. IID companies lose revenue if defendants get their devices removed early. So they are slow to notify the DMV about compliant defendants.

3. Wait to receive the DMV's removal letter

After receiving the compliance letter, the DMV will mail out a removal letter to the defendant. These letters typically get mailed out on Thursdays or Fridays.

If the removal letter does not arrive, defendants can contact the DMV Interlock Department at 303-205-5613.

If the DMV refuses to send a removal letter, defendants are advised to contact an attorney and schedule a hearing with the DMV Hearing Division at 303-205-5606. A DMV hearing is like a mini-trial between the defendant and the DMV. Both sides can present evidence of the defendant's compliance (or lack of it).

4. Go to the DMV and get a license

Upon receiving the removal letter, defendants can then go to the DMV to apply for an unrestricted license. Defendants must bring the DMV's letter with them.

5. Have the IID removed

Once defendants have an unrestricted license, the IID company can remove the device from their vehicle(s).

6. Cancel the SR22 certificate (if there was no accident)

Defendants may then cancel their SR22 insurance only if their case involved no accident. If there was an accident, they need to maintain the SR22 for the full three years.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.

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