Breath alcohol ignition interlock device 101: Understanding the basics

Ignition interlock devices are designed to keep convicted DUI offenders from driving drunk, and are mandatory for all convicted DUI offenders in Illinois.

People who are convicted of a DUI in Illinois may face strict penalties. Not only do they run the risk of losing their driver's license, drunk drivers may incur heavy fines and possible jail time. In addition to these penalties, convicted DUI offenders may be required to use a breath alcohol ignition interlock device in their vehicles in order to keep them from committing another DUI offense. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, DUI offenders may choose between having their driver's license suspended, and having an interlock device installed in their car. When used correctly, ignition interlock devices enable people to carry on with their normal everyday tasks, such as driving to work, school or on errands.

Operating an IID

Ignition interlock devices are small breath test machines that are wired directly into the ignition system of the vehicle. A dashboard piece with an attached tube allows the driver to submit a breath sample before the car will start, and additional breath samples intermittently throughout the drive. According to TechHive, if the IID does not detect any alcohol in the driver's breath sample, the car will start. However, if the driver's blood alcohol content level measures over a preset level, which is 0.025 percent in Illinois, the car will lock up. Any failed attempts to start the vehicle, as well as the driver's BAC levels, are transmitted to the authorities when the driver takes the IID-equipped vehicle in for a maintenance appointment.

Tips for driving with an IID

According to the Illinois General Assembly, motorists who are driving a car equipped with an interlock device should keep the following in mind:

  • Certain foods and alcohol-based mouthwash can cause a false positive on the interlock device.
  • If the driver has three failed attempts to start the vehicle, the car will lock up for 24 hours.
  • People are responsible for covering the entire cost of the interlock device, including installation, rental and monitoring fees.
  • The IID must be brought in for monitoring during the first 30 days following installation, and then every 60 days after that.
  • Drivers should be prepared to submit rolling retests at regular intervals. If a rolling retest is missed or if the driver has a BAC over the preset limit during a retest, an alarm will sound until the driver pulls over and turns off the vehicle.

Any tampering with the interlock device or violations of the IID law may result in a longer driver's license suspension, heavier fines and an increased risk of spending time in jail.

Why an attorney may be necessary

Although interlock devices make it possible for DUI offenders to keep their primary form of transportation, they can be costly and difficult to maintain. If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI in Illinois, you may want to find out more about your legal options. A criminal attorney in Chicago may be able to help you determine which route is best for you, and create a defense strategy to back it up.

Keywords: drunk driving, arrest, DUI, penalties, interlock