While all 50 states have ignition interlock device laws, the requirements for who has to install one after a DUI/DWI are different in each state. But most states agree on the definition of an ignition interlock violation. If you are participating in your state’s ignition interlock device (IID) restricted driving program, it’s important to know all of the rules surrounding the proper use of the device.
By now you already know that an ignition interlock device is basically an in-car breathalyzer that prevents your car from starting if it detects alcohol on your breath. If the device detects your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above the limit prescribed by your state, you can’t start your car. You are allowed to attempt a retest after a specified amount of time. IIDs have proven to be very successful in preventing drunk driving by those drivers who have them installed.
There are several different types of ignition interlock violations, and the penalties for a violation or series of violations are different in each state, and may also vary based on the nature of your DUI offense (first or subsequent offense, if the DUI involved an injury to someone else).
Ignition Interlock Violations
Once you are eligible/required to enter your state’s restricted driving program, there are a number of ignition interlock violations you need to be aware of. Again, each state has different rules when it comes to the specifics of their program, but common violations can include:
- Driving a vehicle that is NOT equipped with an IID
- Attempting to tamper with or disconnect the device
- Attempting to bypass the device (having someone else blow into it)
- Trying to remove the device
- Failing a startup test (with a BAC above a specified level)
- Failing a rolling retest (with a BAC above a specified level)
- Skipping a rolling retest
- Continuing to drive after failing a rolling retest
- Failing to report a lockout
- Missing a monthly service visit
- Failure to pay monthly maintenance fees
Each state has different rules, but some states mandate that the ignition interlock device enter lockout mode after one violation. All state-approved ignition interlock devices must meet federal IID specifications. A big requirement is that the device is able to record the date, time and location (if GPS-equipped) of each breath test, as well as the test results. Your service technician then transmits that information to the DMV/DOT each month. If the device records a violation, the vendor, such as ALCOLOCK, is required to report the violation within a day or so.
Ignition Interlock Violation Consequences and Penalties
As we mentioned above, each state restricted driving program is different, so it’s important that you know exactly what the consequences and penalties are for an ignition interlock violation. Your IID provider will go over the use of the device and the rules with you at your installation appointment. Your state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or Department of Transportation (DOT) paperwork should also list violations. In addition, you can find the information on your state’s DMV or DOT website.
All that being said, the consequences and penalties vary based on the severity of the violation. They can include:
- Impoundment of your vehicle if you do not install the IID as required
- Permanent lockout from your vehicle, potentially requiring you to have your vehicle towed to the service center to have the device unlocked
- Extension of the length of time you have to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle
- Revocation of your restricted license and removal from the program
- Having to serve out the full suspension period with no driving privileges whatsoever
- Jail time
- And more
Keep in mind that you are responsible for any program violations. If someone else drives your IID-equipped vehicle, make sure they know the rules of the road regarding submitting breath tests, rolling retests, and that they know not to attempt to disable the device.
If you feel that someone else may have incurred an ignition interlock violation, you should let your IID vendor, the DMV, and your DUI lawyer know. You may be able to avoid penalties if you can prove it wasn’t you who violated the program.
Schedule Your Ignition Interlock Installation
If you need to get an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, call the service location nearest you directly, or call ALCOLOCK at (866) 700-9300. You’ll want to have your paperwork from the state when you call so that we can get you on the schedule as quickly as possible. In most cases, we can schedule your ignition interlock device installation within two days of your call. We look forward to helping you get back on the road!