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Understanding Ignition Interlock Devices In Dui Cases

Understanding Ignition Interlock Devices In Dui Cases

One way in which Arizona attempts to prevent drunk driving is by mandating that drivers who are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol must install and use ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. The law is meant to reduce the number of drunk driving accidents caused by people who have a history of drinking and driving.

How ignition interlock devices work

Ignition interlock devices are installed in the dashboards of the vehicles and are wired in with the ignition systems. Before a person is able to start his or her car, he or she must blow into the device. If the device detects that the person has alcohol in his or her system, the vehicle will not start. Ignition interlock systems are ordered in DUI cases as one of multiple penalties, and they may be required in order for a person to be able to regain his or her driving privileges.

If a person is ordered to serve a jail or prison sentence, he or she will often have to install the device after he or she has completed the sentence to incarceration. Arizona also requires that drivers install the devices in all of the vehicles that they drive at their own cost.

What ignition interlock devices are and how they test

Ignition interlock devices are basically portable breathalyzer machines that are used for people who are convicted of driving under the influence. Upon blowing into the mouthpiece, the machine tests the breath sample for its blood alcohol content. People will not be able to start their vehicles if their breath tests at a blood alcohol concentration that is higher than .02 percent. Arizona has one of the strictest ignition interlock device laws in the country. It requires that people who are convicted of a first offense to install and maintain the device in their vehicles for a full year.

After the car has been started, the ignition interlock device will randomly signal the driver to submit to testing again while they are driving in order to recheck their blood alcohol concentration levels. This is done to prevent a person from having someone else blow into the machine for him or her in order to start his or her car. If the device signals that it is time to retest, the person will need to pull off of the road and blow before he or she can again continue driving.

If a person’s random test finds a blood alcohol concentration that is higher than .02 percent, the car’s lights and horn may go off until the vehicle is pulled over and turned off. Whenever an ignition interlock detects that a person has tried to start his or her car or was driving with a high BAC, the machine creates a log that is reviewed by the Arizona Department of Transportation. The machine will also record any attempted tampering of the device by the driver.

Fines and fees

When a person is convicted of a DUI charge, he or she will have many associated costs. In addition to his or her court fines and costs, the ignition interlock device can also be very expensive. The costs associated with ignition interlock devices may include all of the following:

  • Installation costs
  • Monthly maintenance fees ranging from $60 to $100
  • Service costs
  • Added fines if the person tampers with the device
  • Separate installation and maintenance costs for each vehicle that is registered in the driver’s name
  • Additional costs for the SR-22 insurance that is carried during the ignition interlock period

When a device may be required

Arizona mandates the installation and use of ignition interlock devices for first-time convictions regardless of the driver’s blood alcohol concentration. This has been true since 2007 when the law mandating the installation of ignition interlock devices for all first-time DUI offenders was passed. Before that, the courts could use discretion in determining whether or not to order them.

People who fail a breathalyzer or who refuse to submit to testing when they are stopped will have their licenses suspended for a year. After taking an alcohol assessment, they may apply for special restricted licenses along with the use of an ignition interlock device. The court may also order the device to be installed and used for longer than 12 months if a person has a history of multiple prior DUI offenses, has a very high BAC or has other issues. In addition to the device, the person may also have probation, mandatory alcohol classes and other penalties.

Violations involving ignition interlock devices and getting legal help

If a person does not submit to one of the random tests while he or she is driving, fails one of the tests, tampers with the device or is caught driving without one, he or she may face additional charges. If he or she is on probation, his or her probation may also be revoked and the person may have to serve a jail sentence. People who are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or who are accused of failing a test, tampering with a device or driving without should contact an experienced DUI defense attorney at the Law Offices of David Michael Cantor.

Your attorney will be able to help defend against the allegations in court and at any administrative hearing with the Arizona Department of Transportation. Finally, the attorney will explain to his or her client what they might expect to occur while going through the process of dealing with a DUI charge.