What Happens If You Get Caught Driving a Car Without an Interlock?

If the courts or the DMV have ordered you to get an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your car, you should know they mean business. All 50 states and Washington DC have ignition interlock laws on the books designed to keep DUI offenders from driving drunk again, at least for the time period you are required to have the device installed. Your interlock-restricted license will have words or symbols on it to indicate your license status.

IID laws may vary from state to state, depending on if this was your first offense, what your blood alcohol content (BAC) was, if anyone was hurt as a result of your DUI, and other factors. But one constant is if you are granted an interlock restricted license, you must get the IID installed, and you can only drive your interlock-equipped vehicle, until your restriction period is up.

If a law enforcement officer or even a citizen who knows you’re only supposed to drive an IID-equipped car discovers you driving a car without an interlock, you’re in trouble. It is illegal for you to drive a car without an interlock. The officer will arrest you and seize your license, and the citizen can call 911 on you.

Penalties if You Get Caught Driving a Car without an Interlock

The penalties if you get caught driving a car without an interlock will range in severity, based on a number of factors, including:

  • If you failed to install the interlock on your own vehicle
  • If the courts order you to install the device, and only drive an IID-equipped vehicle
  • If the DMV required you to install the IID, and only drive an IID-equipped vehicle
  • If you are charged with another DUI while driving a car without an interlock
  • And more, depending on your specific situation

The actual criminal and administrative penalties can include:

  • Impoundment of the car, whether it’s yours or not
  • Revocation of parole
  • Jail time
  • Fines of several thousand dollars
  • Increased time on your suspended license
  • Permanent license revocation

Add on to all of that the attorney’s fees you will incur. If you are a repeat offender, the judge can really throw the book at you. So not installing an interlock, or driving a car without an interlock are both bad ideas. If you want to get your life back to normal after a DUI without any more legal costs or drama, abide by the program rules.

Cost of an Ignition Interlock Device

The cost of an ignition interlock device is far less than the fines and legal fees you would face if you get caught driving a car without an interlock. Depending on what state you live in, installation fees may run $75-150. Monthly service visits will likely run $80-90 a month, or $2-3 a day. That’s less than you would pay for an alcoholic drink, or a latte at Starbucks.

So while driving around with an IID in your car might be a slight inconvenience, it’s illegal to drive without it, and the costs are high when, not if, you get caught.

If You Don’t Have a Car of Your Own

If you’re ordered to get an interlock in your car, but you don’t have one of your own, that doesn’t mean you’re free and clear. A restricted license doesn’t allow you to drive unless the car is equipped with an ignition interlock. So if you’re thinking you can take a quick trip in a friend’s car, think again. You could face the penalties we described above, as well as risking a friendship if the friend’s car is impounded.

Consider using a taxi, Uber, Lyft, public transportation, or carpooling to get where you need to go. But you should know that if you do eventually get a car of your own, you will still have to get the IID installed and complete the restricted license period in order to get your full driving privileges restored.

Schedule Your Ignition Interlock Installation

ALCOLOCK has service locations across the country. To schedule your ignition interlock installation, just call the service location nearest you. Of course, you can also call ALCOLOCK directly at (866) 700-9300. When choosing your service center, keep in mind that where you get the installation done is where you will go for your service visits. So check the hours of operation, and decide if closer to work or your home is better.

When you call, please have your court or administrative paperwork with you, as we will need some of that information. You will want to plan on the installation appointment lasting about an hour. The time includes the physical installation of the device, and training you how to use it. Your technician will also explain what all of the lights, sounds, and messages mean. Before you go, we will schedule your first service appointment. Those take about 20 minutes. Depending on where you live, you will need to bring your vehicle every 30 days or every 60 days for servicing.

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