DWI and Ignition Interlock Devices
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Fri Jan 2016
Have you heard the term ignition interlock devices and wondered how they work? Those who are convicted of driving while under the influence (“DWI”) may learn its practical application. The requisite installation of ignition interlock devices (“IIDs”) has become more prevalent for those faced with drunk driving convictions.
What are Ignition Interlock Devices?
The purpose of an ignition interlock device is to determine if a driver intends to go behind the wheel with a blood alcohol reading in excess of the .08% amount. In New Jersey, BAC readings over this amount are considered drunk driving. Some know this offense as either driving while under influence (“DUI”) or driving while under the influence (“DWI”).
The IID is installed in the vehicle dashboard. Before the driver can start the car, he or she must breathe into the device so that a blood alcohol reading can be established. If the levels register above the legal amount, the vehicle will not start. The government considers these devices as a means of keeping individuals in check to ensure further incidences of drunk driving.
When are Installation of IIDs ordered?
The State of New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission cites the circumstances of ignition interlock devices installation requirements:
- After a first DWI conviction: There is no requirement for the installation of an ignition interlock device after the first DWI conviction, unless the individual’s block alcohol content (BAC) was found to be in excess of 0.15%. Even if the BAC was lower, the presiding judge may use his or her discretion in ordering installation. This would not occur until the defendant’s license was restored. The period of time that the driver could only operate a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device would be from six months to one year.
- Second DWI conviction: Installation of an IID is mandatory after a second drunk driving conviction. The court may require that the vehicle operator’s car be equipped with the ignition interlock device from one to three years.
- Third DWI conviction: The same penalties are mandatorily assessed for third sentencing of defendants as they are for second convictions. It goes without saying that in both cases, the installation of devices effectuates after the driver’s license has been restored.
The Cost of Ignition Interlock Devices
The IID may seem like an inconvenience, although some may be grateful that their actions are kept in check to avoid further convictions. What about the cost and who is responsible for payment?
It should come as no surprise that those ordered to install ignition interlock devices are responsible for the cost of setting them up, as well as monthly expenses. The cost of installation generally ranges from $70 to $150. There are monthly fees for calibration and lease requirements. The lease involves both monitoring and maintenance requirements and ranges from $60-$80/monthly.