How Do Ignition Interlock Devices Factor Into a DWI Case in Texas?

A DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) charge in Texas is serious business. If you are driving and you have a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, you will be charged with DWI. If you’re under the age of 21, you’ll be charged with DUI or DWI if you have even the slightest bit of alcohol in your system, because you are under the legal drinking age. A DWI charge is generally a Class B misdemeanor, but if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .15 or more, you can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

The penalties you will face for a DWI conviction will vary, depending on your age, BAC, and if this is your first offense or a repeat offense. Penalties increase with each offense. Under Texas DWI laws, typical penalties include:

  • Fines up to $10,000
  • Suspension of your license up to two years, with immediate suspension if you refuse the BAC test
  • Jail or prison time from 72 hours up to 10 years
  • Ignition interlock device (IID) installation

That last one is where ALCOLOCK comes in. We are pioneers in ignition interlock device technology, and we have multiple ignition interlock service locations throughout the state of Texas. Ignition interlock devices are essentially car breathalyzers, and they are proven to prevent drunk driving.

Ignition Interlock Device Requirements in Texas

If you’re convicted of DWI in Texas, you may be required to get an ignition interlock device installed in each vehicle you own. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (TXDPS) before you can get the device installed, you’ll have to pay the restricted ignition interlock license fee, and your license reinstatement fees. You may also be required to submit SR-22 information to prove you have taken financial responsibility.

You need to be aware that you have to pay the restricted ignition interlock license by mail, and the processing time can take up to 21 days.

Ignition Interlock Device Installation in Texas

The TXDPS requires you to have your ignition interlock device installation performed at a service center that has been certified by DPS. All of ALCOLOCK’s service centers are state-certified, and in full compliance with all state and federal regulations as they pertain to ignition interlock devices.

Once we receive documentation that you have paid all of the necessary fees and the DPS says you can get an ignition interlock device installed, we will schedule your installation appointment. Generally, we can get you scheduled within 48 hours of confirming your eligibility for the program.

What to Expect at Your Ignition Interlock Device Installation

You can expect your ignition interlock device installation appointment to last about an hour. During that time, your technician will connect the device to your vehicle’s electrical system, specifically to the starter. Your IID comes in two parts — the Electronic Control Unit (ECU), which is connected to the starter, and the handheld device that you blow into.

In a nutshell, if you blow into the device and there is no alcohol on your breath, you will be able to start your car as you normally would. If, however, the device detects alcohol on your breath above the specified state limit, you will be locked out, and unable to start your car.

Your technician will show you how the ignition interlock device works and have you blow into it to calibrate it to you, specifically. If someone else will be driving your vehicle while it has an IID installed, they should come to the installation appointment as well. Your technician will explain what all of the lights and sounds mean, and answer any questions you may have. At that installation appointment, you will also schedule your first monthly service appointment.

Monthly Service Visits

All 50 states have ignition interlock device laws, and all of them require drivers to bring their vehicles in for monthly service visits. These visits typically take about 20 minutes. At each visit, your technician will upload the information the device has recorded for that month to your monitoring agency, which is generally the DPS. The technician will also re-calibrate the device if needed, and address any concerns you may have.

You Can Depend on ALCOLOCK 24/7

If you ever have any issues with your ignition interlock device, we are available to help you 24/7 at 866-700-9300. You can also visit our Support page for some troubleshooting tips for your ALCOLOCK device. And if you need to schedule an installation, call a vendor direct, call our toll free number, or use our contact form. Whatever is easiest for you.