Stackpool v. Department of Revenue.
2021 COA 150. No. 20CA1359. Felony Driving Under the Influence—Driver’s License Revocation—Early Reinstatement—Interlock-Restricted License.
December 16, 2021
A trooper arrested Stackpool for driving under the influence (DUI). The Colorado Department of Revenue (department) initially revoked Stackpool’s driver’s license because her blood alcohol content exceeded 0.08. Stackpool applied for early reinstatement of her privilege to drive under the interlock statute, and the department issued her an interlock-restricted license. Stackpool subsequently pleaded guilty to DUI—fourth or subsequent offense, a class 4 felony. One month later, the department sent Stackpool two notices stating that it had revoked her privilege to drive. Stackpool requested an administrative hearing on the department’s determination that she was ineligible for early reinstatement of her driving privilege with an interlock-restricted license because she had been convicted of a felony. The hearing officer held that the department did not err by revoking Stackpool’s driver’s license and concluded that in light of the revocation, he lacked authority to determine her eligibility for early reinstatement with an interlock-restricted license. Stackpool appealed to the district court, which affirmed the hearing officer’s decision.
As an initial matter on appeal, the department asserted that Stackpool’s appeal was moot because, during the appeal’s pendency, the department issued her an interlock-restricted license. The Court of Appeals agreed that the issue was moot with respect to Stackpool. However, because it is an important issue capable of repetition yet evading review, the Court exercised its discretion to decide on the merits whether a driver convicted of felony DUI is entitled to seek early reinstatement of the privilege to drive with an interlock-restricted license.
Stackpool argued that the interlock statute encompasses convictions for misdemeanor DUI and felony DUI, and therefore the hearing officer and district court erred in denying her request for early reinstatement of her privilege to drive with an interlock-restricted license. The general reference to “DUI . . . conviction” in the interlock statute means a felony DUI or a misdemeanor DUI. Accordingly, a person convicted of felony DUI is eligible to apply for early reinstatement of the driving privilege under the interlock statute. Therefore, the hearing officer and district court erred in concluding that Stackpool was not entitled to apply for reinstatement of her driving privilege under the interlock statute.
The judgment was reversed.