Updated on 7/22/2017
Driving under the influence of alcohol can have serious consequences, including injuring or killing another person. Intoxicated drivers who manage to avoid accidents are still easy targets for officers of the law. A DUI charge carries multiple penalties determined at the state level. Many states now require installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in a vehicle driven by a DUI offender.
An IID works like a breathalyzer device and is installed in the dashboard of a motor vehicle. The driver exhales into the IID before starting the car motor. If the measured blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) falls below the programmed BAC threshold, the motor will start. If measured BAC exceeds the BAC threshold, the IID prevents the engine from starting by interrupting the signal sent from the vehicle ignition to the starter. How long a driver will have to install the Ignition Interlock device for a DUI or DWI charge can vary for each driver’s own arrest circumstances, however the average mandatory length of time is for one year upon a first offense drunk driving conviction.
Drivers who are able to provide valid breath samples below the BAC threshold are not out of the woods. The IID requires additional breath samples at random intervals while the engine is on. This prevents another individual from breathing into the device. If a breath sample is not provided upon request or the sample exceeds the BAC threshold, the device emits a warning and alarm until the vehicle ignition is turned off or an acceptable breath sample is provided. Each missed or excessive BAC sample is logged by the IID for retrieval by law enforcement.
Every state has some type of ignition interlock law and as of August 2014, 21 states had mandatory IID provisions for DUI offenses. Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends it for first offenders, some states do not require this car Breathalyzer installation for a first DUI or DWI offense conviction, but do give judges discretion to still impose this ignition interlock penalty. Several states impose stricter IID installation mandates for underage drinkers convicted of DUI.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving is one of several groups lobbying for mandatory Ignition Interlocks installation following an initial DUI conviction in any state. Some U.S. politicians support IIDs as standard features of motor vehicles. If they are successful, every car sold in the U.S. may someday have an IID installed in the dashboard.
DUI or DWI laws in the state in which the incident occurred determine whether IID installation is required for a first-time offender. Individuals charged with this offense should discuss their cases with DUI attorneys to find out if potential penalties include installation of IIDs. In most states under the new laws, the Ignition Interlock device installation is an alternative to another penalty such as temporary driver license suspension ranging on average of 6 months to 2 years.
If a person has been convicted of driving under the influence with a BAC over .08, or a breath test refusal offense, you will have to participate in the Interlock program, in order to get your driver’s license back. The IID program is designed as both a costly consequence and opportunity for an individual to get a license earlier by having this car Breathalyzer device wired into the ignition of any vehicle they will drive (including work or company cars). IID drivers are supposed to blow into the device before starting their vehicle, as well as submitting breath samples to the Interlock device while driving (every 15-30 mins) on average. A driver will be also required to have the device routinely maintained by a certified technician every 1 to 2 months.
Drivers facing their first DUI or DWI offense, who participate in the IID Program, will be expected to have to get the Interlock device installed in their vehicle for 1 year on average if convicted of the charge.
Besides the higher car insurance rates for 5 years after a guilty plea or conviction, first offense DUI drivers must also pay fines that start at $1,300 in most states.
Drivers that need to install the Ignition Interlock device can expect to pay the following costs:
- Average $160 installation fee
- Monthly $30 administration fee
- Daily monitoring charge approx. $3.50
- $60 fee to remove the interlock at the end of the required installation time period
- Additional fines will also apply if the device records any violations
We can help drivers prevent having to install the expensive and intrusive Ignition Interlock device penalty, when we can review the arrest early enough and avoid a first DUI offense conviction from ever happening.