Tuesday, 06 April 2010 05:31

DUI/DWI and Ignition Interlock Devices

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Many states have ignition interlock devices as a possible penalty for a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge. An ignition interlock device is similar to a breathalyzer and it is installed on the dashboard of a vehicle.

Twelve states have made ignition interlock devices mandatory for all DUI/DWI convictions, even first offenses.

How Ignition Interlock Devices Work

Before the vehicle can be started the driver has to exhale into the device. If the driver's Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is too high, usually over 0.02 or 0.04, then the vehicle won't start. In order to prevent someone blowing into the ignition interlock for someone else, it will also require the driver to blow into it at random times after the car has been started. If the driver doesn't blow into the device, or the BAC reading is too high after the vehicle has been started, the device will warn the driver and start honking the horn, flashing the lights, or both, until the ignition is turned off.

Resistance to Bypassing/Tampering

The makers of ignition interlock systems have taken many things into consideration to hinder people from attempting to bypass the system. The ignition interlock device also records information and either reports events wirelessly or by requiring the person to take it to the company that rents the device to have the records downloaded in order for the vehicle to continue being driven.

Some brands of interlock devices require the driver to suck in air or make a humming noise while blowing into the device to ensure it is a human and not something mechanical blowing into the device. There are even machines that take an image of the person using the device to ensure they aren't trying to bypass the ignition interlock.

State Laws and Ignition Interlock Devices

Most states leave the option of installing an ignition interlock device up to the sentencing judge. This way, the judge can take the aggravating and mitigating factors into consideration. Some examples of aggravating circumstances are driving at excessive speed at the time of arrest or having a minor child in the car while drinking and driving. Mitigating factors include lower BAC results or it being a first offense. However, the current trend is moving toward more states requiring an ignition interlock device after a single DUI/DWI conviction or as a requirement to getting a restricted license after a DUI/DWI conviction.

Ignition interlock devices are almost always paid for by the offender. However, an ignition interlock device can help DUI/DWI offenders by allowing them to keep their driving privileges while also ensuring that they don't drink and drive.

This article is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Please contact an attorney in your local area for more information about DUI/DWI Law.

Related Legal Information:
DUI Law Firm Dallas Justice. Attorney Michael Lowe serving clients throughout Texas.
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