Will I Go to Jail If I Fail My Interlock?

If you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you may have already spent some time in jail. At the very least, you had to hire a lawyer and pay some fines. Now that all of that is behind you, you’re ready to start your state’s interlock restricted driving program. A lot of people are scared about what will happen if they fail an ignition interlock breath test. In fact “Will I go to jail if I fail my interlock?” is one the questions we hear the most.

We would like to put your mind at ease. In general, you will not go to jail if you fail one interlock test. But every case is different. You should carefully read through the conditions of your restricted driving program, so you know the penalties for failing one or more ignition interlock tests. You should also read the conditions of your probation, if you are on probation. You may also want to talk with your DUI lawyer and your probation officer.

While states have different ignition interlock laws regarding who has to install one and for how long, they all require us to report test failures and any other program violations to your monitoring agency.

Penalties for Failing an Ignition Interlock Test

If it’s a condition of your probation that you cannot fail a single interlock test, you could go to jail. But you might also face fines, community service, extension of your restricted driving period, and more. If you fail a rolling retest because you’ve been drinking, you could very well be charged with another DUI, which of course would mean jail time if you are convicted.

But in most states, failing one ignition interlock test will not send you automatically to jail. However, depending on the circumstances, one test failure might be enough, especially if:

  • Your state has harsh penalties
  • You failed with a high BAC
  • You were arrested for DUI/DWI
  • You have repeatedly failed the interlock test
  • And more

Follow the Rules and Avoid Jail Time

Your safest route to avoiding jail time when you have an ignition interlock device installed is to follow all of the program rules and regulations. These include:

  • Installing the device when you are supposed to
  • Not driving a car without an interlock
  • No startup test failures
  • No failed rolling retests
  • No skipped rolling retests
  • No attempts to tamper with the device
  • No attempts to have someone else submit a breath sample for you
  • Making it to all service visits as scheduled
  • Keeping up with payments to your interlock vendor

If you follow all of the rules, not only will you avoid any possibility of jail time, but you will complete your state’s restricted driving program in the shortest time possible. And in some states, such as Arizona, if you were a first time DUI offender and if you go 6 months without a single interlock program violation, you may be able to shorten your time in the program.

It is common for states to add time on to the restricted driving program for every program violation. So even if you’re almost done with the initial interlock period, if you mess up, a state could make you start all over again.

Schedule Your Ignition Interlock Device Installation

If you need to get an IID installed, ALCOLOCK is ready to help. We have ignition interlock device installation locations all across the country. To schedule your interlock device installation, just call the service location most convenient to your work or home. Remember that where you get the installation done is where you will go for your service appointments. You can also call ALCOLOCK directly at (866) 700-9300. In most states, you must have the installation completed within 30 days of getting your restricted license.

Because you will need someone to drive you and your vehicle to the appointment, you will want to coordinate with your ride before you pick a day and time for installation. If someone else will be driving the vehicle while you have the IID installed, they should come with you.

Installation appointments usually last about an hour. First, the technician will physically install the device in your car. Then they will calibrate the device and train you and anyone else how to use it. The service technician will explain what all of the lights, sounds, and messages mean, and give you a user’s manual to help you if you forget anything. Finally, you will set up your first service visit. Those are usually every 30 days and last about 20 minutes.

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