Being convicted of a DUI is expensive and stressful. Once you’ve served your jail time (if any) you’re ready to go back to work to help pay off those legal bills. But how will you get to work? All 50 states have ignition interlock laws restricting who can drive, where you can drive, and when you can drive after a DUI conviction.
Depending on your individual circumstances, you may qualify for an employment-only license, also known as a hardship license or interlock restricted license. But how long is an ignition interlock device required for an employment-only license? The answer is, it depends.
State laws vary, but generally, an employment-only license or restricted license only allows you to drive to and from places like work, school, drug or alcohol treatment programs, and medical appointments. Some states may also limit the time of day you can drive, such as only driving during daylight hours. These restrictions can come from a court order, or from your state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
It is important to note that states may not allow you to get an interlock restricted license as a Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL) driver. You may be eligible for your non-commercial license, though. In this situation, you could get an interlock license to drive your personal vehicle to and from work, but you could not get a commercial license with an interlock restriction in order to drive a big rig. This is because CDLs are regulated by federal regulations rather than state law.
Hard Suspension After a DUI
In many states, you are eligible for a hardship license or interlock restricted license after a DUI once you serve a “hard suspension” during which time you can’t drive at all. You then enter a “soft suspension” period where, if you meet the program guidelines, you can qualify for an interlock restricted, or hardship license.
You have to apply for a restricted license and show that not driving for the full suspension period would place a “hardship” on you and your family. You may have to show that public transportation is not available in your area, or not practical. You will have to pay a fee to apply for this ignition interlock restricted license, and then you would be financially responsible for all of the installation and maintenance costs associated with having the device.
How Long Will the Ignition Interlock Device Be Installed?
State laws vary. If this DUI was your first offense and you had a low blood alcohol content (BAC), some states don’t require you to get a restricted license at all. But the number of those states are dwindling, as more and more states become “all offender” states. This means if you are convicted of a DUI, or you refuse to submit to the chemical test, you will have to get an interlock restricted license before you can regain full driving privileges.
And how long an ignition interlock device is required for an employment-only license or hardship license depends on several factors, including:
- The state you live in
- How high your BAC was
- If this was a second or subsequent offense
- If anyone was injured as a result of your DUI
How long you have to have the ignition interlock device installed can range from six months to several years, depending on the severity of your offense. Your court paperwork or your DMV website will have more information specific to your case. Your DUI lawyer will also be well-versed in your state’s ignition interlock requirements.
Your state sets out the required time to have the ignition interlock device installed according to your DUI offense. But you should know that if you violate the program rules, the state or the court can extend the amount of time you have to keep the device in your vehicle.
The surest way to get the device removed in the shortest amount of time is to abide by all the program rules and regulations. Don’t try and drive after you’ve been drinking. Don’t try and tamper with or remove the device. Make it a point to get to all of your required service visits. If you follow the program rules, you can keep your time to the minimum.
Schedule Your Ignition Interlock Device Installation
At ALCOLOCK™, we make ignition interlock device installation easy and affordable. We have service locations across the country to serve you. To schedule your appointment, just call the service center most convenient to you. You can also call ALCOLOCK™ directly at (866) 700-9300 and we will help you get scheduled.
You’ll want to plan on having someone drive you and your vehicle to your installation appointment, which should last about an hour. Once the technician installs the interlock device and trains you in how to use it, you will schedule your first service visit. Then, you are free to drive to and from work, or according to the rules laid out in your restricted driving program.
No matter where you live, state law mandates regular service visits. Those will last about 20 minutes. Depending on the state you live in, you will need to come in for regular visits every 30-60 days. Your restricted driving program documents will detail all of that, and your technician can answer most of your questions as well.