If you are required to get an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your vehicle as part of getting your unrestricted license back, you’re probably wondering just how long you will need an ignition interlock. The length of time you will need to have the IID installed depends on a number of factors.
While we will go into the factors here, you should refer to the paperwork you received from the state regarding your participation in the Ignition Interlock Restricted Driving Program. And if you somehow lose the paperwork, you can contact the courts or the DMV/DOT to get the specifics. Most states also provide general information online.
What State You Live In
While all 50 states have ignition interlock laws, they vary greatly in the length of time an ignition interlock is required before you can apply for reinstatement of your regular driver’s license. Depending on your individual DUI/DWI and the circumstances surrounding it, you could be required to install an IID for six months to life.
Yes, you read that right. Under New Mexico law, for a fourth or subsequent drunk driving conviction, you are required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle for the rest of your life, although you are allowed to petition every five years for good cause. A good cause might include alcohol screening and proof from the interlock vendor that you have not failed a single breath test during the previous five years or violated the program in any way.
You may be ineligible to participate in the ignition interlock restricted driving program in your state. For instance, in some states, refusing the chemical test means you’re not eligible to participate, and you have to fulfill the full suspension period with no driving privileges at all. In other states, refusing the chemical test makes you automatically have to get an ignition interlock device installed.
For all states, you can be charged with DUI/DWI if your BAC is .08 or higher. Utah las lowered that legal threshold to .04. And if you’re under 21, you can be charged with DUI if there is any detectable alcohol in your system, since it is illegal for you to drink alcohol.
Whether This Is a First DUI or Repeat Offense
If this is your first DUI/DWI conviction, you may not have to get an ignition interlock device installed at all. Some states let you voluntarily install an ignition interlock after a first offense rather than serve the full license suspension period. Others require first offenders to get an IID installed if they blew a high BAC, or someone was injured as a result of their drunk driving. And 32 states, as well as Washington, D.C., have what’s known as an all-offender ignition interlock law. This means everyone, even first time offenders, must install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for a certain length of time before you can get full driving privileges back.
The length of time you must have an IID installed increases with the severity of your DUI (injuries? High BAC?) as well as if this was a second or subsequent offense. We mentioned above the strict law in New Mexico that could mean an ignition interlock device for life after a fourth or subsequent drunk driving conviction.
Whether You Follow the Rules of the Restricted Driving Program
All of the time periods set out in your original paperwork from the courts or DMV/DOT are the minimum time. If you follow the program rules to the letter, and never attempt to drink and drive, skip a rolling retest, tamper with the device, or commit some other program violation, you won’t have to have the IID longer than that specified time period.
However, and this varies from state to state, if you fail the breath test a certain number of times or skip a rolling retest, your state will increase the length of time you have to have the ignition interlock device installed. This could be anywhere from another 30 days to six months.
And, if you attempt to tamper with the device, you could be thrown out of the program altogether and be required to serve your full suspension period.
So in reality, how long you will need an ignition interlock depends upon you and the state you live in.
Schedule Your Ignition Interlock Device Installation Appointment
If you need to get an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, help is just a phone call away. Call one of our service locations directly, or call ALCOLOCK at (866) 700-9300 to schedule your ignition interlock installation appointment. Be sure you have all of the paperwork from the courts and the Department of Motor Vehicles when you call. That will help streamline the whole process. Once we have confirmation that you are eligible for the program, we can generally get you an appointment within two business days. We offer fast and affordable ignition interlock device installation and maintenance at locations around the country.