Ignition Interlock Device

Among other penalties for a DWI conviction, the court may order a convicted driver to install an ignition interlock device into their vehicle.

What is an ignition interlock device?

An ignition interlock device is a breath-testing device similar to the Alcotest machine (used to measure blood alcohol content upon initial arrest for DWI). The installation of the ignition interlock device may be required after an individual is convicted of DWI. It attaches to the steering column of the vehicle and is designed to prevent the vehicle from starting if the driver’s BAC is over a certain amount. The ignition interlock device is a simple concept with a straightforward goal – to prevent the driver from driving if their BAC is over the limit programmed into the device. In New Jersey, that amount is usually .05 which is lower than the normal legal limit of .08.

The ignition interlock device is smart and there is no way around it. The device will recognize if you tamper with it and will record it as a violation. It is also programmed to recognize if a third party attempts to blow into the device, meaning you can’t get around it by asking a sober friend or relative to give the sample instead.

Additionally, once the vehicle begins to move, the driver is required to blow into the device every 15 minutes to continually monitor their blood alcohol content. If the driver fails to provide these samples then the device will record each as a violation.

Will I be required to install an ignition interlock device?

It depends on the circumstances of your DWI. However, the penalties are typically as follows:

  • For a first DWI conviction, if the reading is 0.15% BAC or above, or for a refusal conviction, you are required to install the device during the mandatory 7 month-license suspension and for a 6-12 month period following the restoration of your driver’s license.
  • For a first offense with a BAC of less than 0.15% it is in the judge’s discretion whether or not to require installation of an ignition interlock.
  • For a second or subsequent DWI conviction, the interlock device must be installed during the suspension period and for 1-3 years after your driving privileges are restored.

Importantly, if you’re required to install an ignition interlock device, you are required to pay the expenses associated with the installation and removal of the device. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle the price typically runs from $50-$200.

If you have been arrested for DWI in Union County or any of the surrounding counties, contact us immediately. At LS&P Lawyers we will evaluate your case and use our experience in DWI defense to determine the likelihood that you will be required to install one of these devices and if so, for how long. One of our attorneys is certified in DWI defense including the operation of the Alcotest machine (similar to the ignition interlock in that it measures the alcohol content in the blood) and the field sobriety tests used by the police in DWI arrests. We provide our clients with unmatched DWI representation. Contact us for a free initial consultation.