Having an Ignition Interlock Device Installed in Your Car


Over 200 million Americans own a valid driver’s license, and every day, millions of cars, trucks, and motorcycles are being driven on today’s roads and highways. Fortunately, most of these drivers are careful and responsible about how they drive, but some are not. Drunk drivers, for example, are intoxicated while they operate a motor vehicle, that is very dangerous for both themselves and other motorists (not to mention pedestrians). The police are careful to spot and pull over these impaired drivers, who may then face DUI charges whether or not they cause an accident. That person will then have to appear in a court of law, and while no outcome can be guaranteed here, some DUI offenders may exchange jail time for having a car breathalyzer device and an interlock device built into their car to prevent repeat offenses. This can act as a compromise of sorts, and the defendant’s criminal defense attorney may argue for this particular arrangement. The convict will probably not drive drunk again, but they should take care to not damage the interlock device. And if ignition interlock problems arise, that person should get help, or avoid situations where ignition interlock problems would appear anyway.

Drunk Driving

It can be said with certainty that alcohol and the road should not mixed. Even driving “buzzed” is highly dangerous, and strictly discouraged. As the law defines it, drunk driving is when a motor vehicle operator has a BAC, or blood alcohol content, of 0.08% or higher (and some states have a threshold even lower than that). A drunk driver is very dangerous, as they have impaired coordination and judgment, and might even see double. This makes their driving sloppy and reckless, and they are likely to hit another vehicle, a piece of property, or a pedestrian. If a person is driving drunk, their erratic driving may give them away, and a police officer may pursue them and pull them over to administer tests. Someone who fails those tests will be charged with a DUI, and if they caused damage to property or lives, they may face charges for those offenses, too. The next step is a court of law.

Drunk Driving and Court

Someone who faces DUI charges may turn to a criminal defense lawyer to represent their side of the case before court begins. To do this, the client may look up local criminal defense law firms in their area, some of which may specialize in DUI cases in particular since they are so common. The client may get consultations from the attorneys working at a local law firm (this may or may not incur a fee), and hire one. Together, they build a case.

Nothing can be guaranteed here, but if the DUI incident did not harm property or lives, and/or if the offender has no previous convictions, they might face a fairly light penalty after their attorney has argued in their defense. For example, jail time and heavy fines ma be exchanged for lighter fines and having an ignition interlock device and breathalyzer installed in their car, as a compromise. This way, the offender can move about, but is unlikely to drive drunk again.

This device keeps the car’s ignition locked until the driver submits a clean breath sample, and further samples may be required at random during operation (there will be a warning light so the driver can pull over and administer samples). But what if an ignition interlock problem comes up? Such ignition interlock problems may be false positives in many cases, as the driver may have consumed something that contains trace amounts of alcohol (mouthwash or cough syrup, for example). Even gasoline fumes might confuse the breathalyzer, so the user should make sure that there are no fumes present when giving breath samples. Further, during cold weather, moisture might freeze somewhere in the system and clog it. The user can contact the manufacturer or the court if such problems arise, and have the device fixed or cleaned out as needed. And of course, the driver is strongly discouraged from damaging any part of the interlock device, nor should they ask someone else to submit a clean breath sample on their behalf.

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