We are often asked about refusing the chemical test in Colorado and “what happens if I refuse the chemical test?’ The answers to these important questions, may be different now after the Colorado legislature’s recent expansion of the ignition interlock program.

For many years, a driver who refused a blood or breath test was subject to a 1 year loss of his driver’s license. There were no provisions for an early reinstatement or a restricted license to drive to work, to therapy appointments or to take kids to school. In Colorado, where public transportation is not frequently accessible, not being able to drive for 1 year could be an extremely harsh penalty. That will be changing on January 1, 2014 with the passage of HB 1240 earlier this year.

HB 1240 allows a person whose license has been revoked for 1 year or more because of a refusal to apply for early reinstatement after not driving for 2 months if the driver installs an ignition interlock system in his car. Since this early reinstatement provision allows DMV to grant an ignition interlock license on January 1st, a driver who was revoked for a refusal before November 2013 will be eligible to reinstate when the law takes effect.

HB1240 will also allow a driver who is revoked for a year or more for a DUI/DWAI conviction or an excess BAC to reinstate after 1 month of not driving if the driver installs the interlock. Previously, a driver with 2 DUI/DWAI convictions in 5 years or a second Express Consent revocation was revoked for 1 year and not allowed to drive for any reason during the revocation.

It is obvious that the Colorado Legislature is expanding the interlock program. If you have had DMV revoke your license for a year or more because of a DUI, you might consider consulting with a lawyer as soon as possible to see how the changes in the law may apply to you.