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Understanding ignition interlock devices

There are a variety of consequences and penalties associated with drunk driving that can include jail time, fines, license suspension or an ignition interlock device. Because ignition interlock devices are a potential consequence of drunk driving charges, it is important to understand what one is and how it is used. Ignition interlock devices are mechanical devices installed in the dashboard of vehicles and are used to limit drunk driving.

An ignition interlock device serves as a breathalyzer device by measuring the blood alcohol content level of the driver. The device will prevent the vehicle from starting if the driver's BAC level is greater than a predetermined level, which varies by state but is usually between 0.02% and 0.04%. Likewise, the circumstances under which an ignition interlock device may be required can vary by state but can include if the accused individual has a prior DUI conviction; if it is the accused individual's first DUI charge but their BAC was over 0.15%; if the accused individual refused to consent to a chemical alcohol test; or if the accused individual is accused of causing injury while under the influence of alcohol.

When a driver's license has been suspended because of drunk driving charges, an ignition interlock device may be required before the driver is able to obtain their license back. There are a number of fees associated with ignition interlock devices that the accused individual is responsible for. Ignition interlock devices, however, are just one potential consequence associated with drunk driving accusations and charges.

Because of the serious nature of potential penalties and consequences associated with drunk driving charges, accused individuals should always keep in mind their criminal defense options. Individuals accused of drunk driving charges have important rights and protections they should be familiar with when facing drunk driving charges that may help avoid the significant consequences of drunk driving accusations.

Source:, "Ignition Interlock Device," Accessed April 25, 2016

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