Ignition Interlock Device
A common penalty for a DUI charge is suspension or loss of driving license. However, most people rely on their cars to get to and from work. Parts of California do not have sufficient public transport infrastructure to allow someone to travel by public transport to work, supermarkets, and court-mandated programs. A way around this is for the court to order an ignition interlock device to be installed in the defendant’s car. This means they can still drive, but it prevents them from driving while they are drunk.
What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?
An ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer that is installed into your car. It will not allow you to start your car unless your BAC is below the limit programmed into the device. In some cases, the device limit may be somewhere under the legal limit of 0.08% BAC; in others, it may be 0. The ignition interlock device limit will depend on the court order.
In addition to requiring a breathalyzer before starting the car, the ignition interlock device may also require random checks while you are driving. It will alert you to a random test and require you to pull over and complete the check. This is to ensure you do not ask someone else to start your car to get around the ignition interlock device. It also stops people from drinking while they are driving to try and “trick” the device.
Once the ignition interlock device is installed in your car, you need to attend regular appointments with the monitoring service. They will remove the ignition interlock device from your car and upload the data so they can check for any violations and service or calibrate the device as necessary. The ignition interlock device will be reinstalled in your car after the appointment.
Ignition Interlock Device Violations
There are a number of things that can count as an ignition interlock device violation. The most common violations are tampering with the device and using it incorrectly. Here is a short list of some ignition interlock device violations:
- Using the device incorrectly- Ignition interlock devices are very easy to use, but the responsibility for learning to use them is on the person with the DUI charge.
- Ignoring retest checks – An ignition interlock device will conduct random retests while you are driving, not just before you start it. Because you are driving, the device allows you some time to safely pull over in order to do the breathalyzer. An ignition interlock device violation occurs if you fail to take the random check when your device notifies you.
- Tampering with the ignition interlock device – A violation will occur if you tamper with the device, especially if you do so in order to drive without taking a breathalyzer. Most devices have anti-tamper seals and protections so that any tampering is obvious to the monitoring company.
- Disconnecting the ignition interlock device – You need prior approval to disconnect the device, and it is only granted in particular circumstances, like protecting it from extreme weather.
The penalties for ignition interlock device violations can vary depending on the type of violation and severity. In some cases, if you show you are not taking the ignition interlock device seriously, you may have your license suspended or go on probation or even face jail time. The ignition interlock device is a mild penalty for DUI that allows you to continue to lead a fairly normal life, so by not following the requirements; you may have to face more severe penalties for your DUI.
How Much Alcohol Can I Drink With an Ignition Interlock Device?
It depends on the programmed level of the ignition interlock device. Some are set to the legal BAC limit of 0.08%, some are set to allow zero traces of alcohol, and some are set somewhere in between. Make sure you are aware of the programmed limit of your ignition interlock device when it is installed.
Even knowing what the limit on your device is isn’t an indication of how much you can drink. The amount of alcohol you can drink before increasing your BAC will depend on your body composition, liver health, and even the types of alcohol you are drinking.
How Can I Cheat the Ignition Interlock Device?
We strongly advise against trying to cheat the ignition interlock device because, in most circumstances, your license was not suspended on the condition you install the ignition interlock device. If you cheat the device or try to remove it, you will face much worse penalties, including loss of license, fines, probation, and jail time. Your ignition interlock device is designed to ensure you have the transport available to stay employed and go about your life but do not pose a threat to public safety.
The ignition interlock device is only installed in your car temporarily, and it is much less invasive than even probation requirements which require drug and alcohol testing and enrollment into programs like NA or AA. You can still drink with the ignition interlock device in your car, but you only need to watch your alcohol consumption if you plan to drive.