How does an Ignition Interlock Device Work?
An ignition interlock device, or IID (sometimes referred to as a breath alcohol IID), is installed on a motor vehicle dashboard. It is just a bit larger than a cell phone, and it is wired into the vehicle’s ignition. In order to start the engine, you are required to exhale into a tube connected to the device. If your breath (based upon exhaling into the IID) registers a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in excess of the programmed amount, the device will prevent you from successfully starting the vehicle. The IID will also sound alerts periodically while the engine is on that will require additional breath samples. If you do not again breathe into the tube, or if the machine registers a BAC in excess of that programmed into the device, a warning will be given, after which an alarm of one sort or another will go off (horn blaring, lights flashing, etc.) until a clean sample is provided, or until you turn off the engine.
The IID must be installed and inspected every 30 days by a certified installer during the first 90 days of use, and thereafter as required by the installer. In the event of non-compliance, a report will be made to the Arizona Department of Transportation. Violations may cause any suspension to be extended, and other penalties may also be imposed. You are responsible for the cost of installation, maintenance and monitoring fees.
Studies indicate that when the use of an IID is combined with comprehensive monitoring, there is a significant reduction in the incidence of repeat drunk driving offenses, at least while the vehicle remains equipped with the IID.
When is an IID Required?
The most common situation in which you may be required to have an IID installed is after conviction for driving under the influence. In accordance with A.R.S. 28-1381, anyone convicted of DUI (even a first offense misdemeanor) will be required to have an IID installed on any vehicle that person operates. The requirement may also be imposed following reinstatement of your license and may last for a year or longer. An IID may also be required as a condition of obtaining a restricted license during the period of any suspension.
There are numerous ways in which you can be charged with a violation relating to an ignition interlock device. Failure to have your device maintained, attempting to disable the device, failing to pay for installation and monitoring fees, for example, will all be reported to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), and there are strict time periods within which you must respond to a notice of violation in order to be able to challenge the allegation.
An even more serious violation relates to a charge of driving under the influence when you are subject to a court or MVD order requiring you do equip your vehicle with an IID. The offense is a class 4 felony.
Defense of IID Violation Charges
In addition to the possibility of erroneous reports, the fact is that an IID is a machine, and machines are not always accurate. IID’s can also record what are known as “false positives” – a false reading indicating the presence of alcohol where none is actually present.
If you are charged in the greater Phoenix area with an offense related to an IID, contact the Law Office of Bret A. Royle today. Remember that you could lose your rights by not responding to a notice or charge in a timely manner. Mr. Royle specializes in defending clients charged with an array of offenses related to drunk and drugged driving. Call our office to schedule a free consultation.