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What’s an Ignition Interlock Device?

Posted on in DUI Defense

Illinois DUI attorneyAn ignition interlock device (also sometimes referred to as an “IID” or a “breath alcohol ignition interlock device” (BAIID)) is a tool that can be installed in an auto that prevents the vehicle from turning on if the driver’s breath alcohol concentration (BAC) is higher than a certain pre-programmed level. If an ignition interlock device is installed on your vehicle then you must blow into the attached breathalyzer before you drive. If no alcohol (or a permissible amount of alcohol) is detected on your breath then your car will start as usual, however, if you fail the breathalyzer test then your vehicle will be locked for a predetermined amount of time (generally the vehicle’s ignition will be locked for a few minutes after the first failed test and will be locked for a longer period of time if a second or subsequent breath test is failed). Additionally, some ignition interlock devices also require drivers to submit to random re-testing while driving.

Ignition Interlock Devices in Illinois

Here in Illinois, anyone who is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on any vehicle that they wish to operate as a condition of having their driving privileges restored. The penalties associated with driving without an ignition interlock device when required to have one can be extremely steep in Illinois. In fact, LifeSafer.com notes that driving without an ignition interlock device in Illinois is a Class 4 felony offense that is punishable by imprisonment for up to three years and payment of a fine of up to $25,000.

Problems Commonly Associated with IIDs

While ignition interlock devices do a good job of curbing recidivism among drunk drivers they do not provide a perfect solution and are commonly associated with a variety of problems. For example, ignition interlock devices sometimes give a false positive. This may happen if the driver used mouthwash or consumed certain baked goods, both of which can contain trace amounts of alcohol, before breathing into the device. Additionally, IIDs sometimes give false positives due to a malfunction within the device itself.

Furthermore, drivers who have consumed alcohol sometimes try to trick their ignition interlock devices by having a sober friend blow into the device for them. Although this is illegal and extremely dangerous drunk drivers are sometimes able to successfully work around their IIDs in this manner. However, some new aged ignition interlock devices are equipped with a camera in order to prevent this sort of behavior.

Speak with a Skokie Drunk Driving Lawyer

If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence in Illinois, or if you’ve been accused of violating an ignition interlock device law, the Luisi Legal Group is here to help.  Contact our Chicago DUI defense lawyers at 773-276-5541 to schedule a free consultation.




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