Will I Go To Jail For Failing An Ignition Interlock Test?

Failing an ignition interlock test can have serious consequences. Will you go to jail for failing an ignition interlock test? Maybe, maybe not. We’re sorry not to be able to give you a hard and fast answer. The fact is, what penalties you face for failing an ignition interlock test depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The state you live in
  • The circumstances of your DUI/DWI (high blood alcohol content [BAC], injuries involved, first or subsequent offense, etc.)
  • How many times you have failed the breath test
  • Your BAC when you failed the test
  • And more

We can tell you that most states will not send you to jail for failing just one ignition interlock test.

Guidelines for State Ignition Interlock Programs

States generally follow the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) guidelines for state ignition interlock programs. The guidelines give states a lot of leeway in how they administer their program. They can require you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) for a number of reasons, including:

  • As a condition of continuing to drive during a license suspension term
  • As a condition of getting full driving privileges back after a DUI/DWI
  • As a condition of pretrial release after a DUI/DWI arrest

All 50 states and Washington DC have ignition interlock laws that spell out who has to install an IID, for how long, and what happens if you violate the program.

Ignition Interlock Program Violations

Model guidelines lay out a number of standard ignition interlock program violations, but each state can tweak the definitions and lay out their own penalties for a program violation. As you know, the IID is a high tech piece of equipment that records a number of things. That data is then transmitted to your monitoring agency (the courts, DMV, etc.) so they can monitor your progress or lack thereof. Ignition interlock device vendors like ALCOLOCK must report program violations promptly, and cannot wait until the monthly service visit to do so.

Ignition interlock program violations can include:

  • Failure to install an IID in your vehicle as required
  • Driving a vehicle NOT equipped with an ignition interlock device (unless you have an exemption of some sort)
  • Failing a startup breath test
  • Failing a rolling retest
  • Skipping a rolling retest
  • Tampering with the device
  • Trying to remove the device
  • Being arrested for another DUI/DWI
  • And more

Program Violation Consequences and Penalties

Jail time for one or more ignition interlock program violations is the most severe penalty, which states reserve for the most serious violations. Again, check with your DUI lawyer and your state’s DMV/DOT for specifics on penalties.

Penalties can include:

  • Seizure of your vehicle if you didn’t install the IID as required
  • Permanent lockout if you fail a specified number of breath tests
  • Extending the time you are required to have the device installed
  • Increased monitoring (requiring a camera on your IID, for example)
  • Revocation of your restricted license and reinstatement of your full license suspension
  • Fines
  • Revocation of parole
  • Jail time
  • And more

So while it’s unlikely you will go to jail for failing an ignition interlock test, it is possible, depending on your individual circumstances. More likely, the state will increase the amount of time you have to have an ignition interlock device installed. Keep in mind that time can range from 3 months to lifetime installation, depending on your state and what your original DUI/DWI offense was. If your goal is to get your full driving privileges back as soon as possible, don’t attempt to drink and drive. It really is that simple.

Schedule Your Ignition Interlock Device Installation

Do you need need to get an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle? Looking to save money? ALCOLOCK can help. We have installation locations around the country, and we provide fast and affordable ignition interlock device installation. Call the installation location nearest you to schedule an installation appointment, or call ALCOLOCK at (866) 700-9300.

In most cases, we can install your device within 48 hours of your call. Be sure to have your paperwork with you when you call to make your appointment, so we can quickly confirm your eligibility for your state’s IID program. And plan on having someone drive you to your installation appointment.

Your appointment will last about an hour. That time includes the actual installation of the device, and the time it takes to calibrate it and train you in how to use your ignition interlock device. Your technician will also schedule your first maintenance visit. The device makes it nearly impossible to forget a maintenance appointment, as it is programmed to send you reminders in the days before the scheduled visit, and the day of your maintenance visit.

At ALCOLOCK, our goal is to get you back on the road quickly. Follow all the rules, and you will be able to regain unrestricted driving privileges without any bumps in the road.

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