Exactly What Is An Ignition Interlock?

Many people shudder at thought of having one of these devices and are disappointed to learn that this device may be the only way that can drive their car for period of time in the future. The reality is, with Washington State DUI laws become harsher ever year and with legislative lobbying by MADD and other interest groups, the ignition interlock will soon be a reality for many citizens who are accused of drinking and driving. It is an unpleasant surprise for many to learn that this device can be required even without having ever gone to court! This is because every DUI arrest is followed by an independent licensing suspension from DOL. This action by DOL must occur within a finite period of time after the arrest regardless of whether the arrestee has even been to court on a first appearance.

Where a person has never been arrested for a DUI within the previous 7 years, and the person provides a breath sample of .08 or above, the DOL will seek to suspend the person's license for 90 days. On the other hand, if the arrested person refuses to provide a breath sample, the DOL will seek to revoke the person's license for 1 year. Where a driver has previously been arrested for a DUI and that arrest occurred within the past seven years, the driver faces a 2 year loss of license regardless of whether the arrested person provides a sample of their breath.

While most suspended or revoked people are eligible to continue driving during their suspension periods, this is allowed ONLY with an ignition interlock license (IIL) which obviously requires an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicles. Here is what an the device looks like.

This ignition interlock is handheld and requires the driver to provide a breath sample prior to the vehicle being started. Once a sample is provided, analyzed, and clear, it will permit the vehicle to start. During the drive time the device will randomly and frequently require the driver to provide samples. As a result, many drivers will be required to place the device in their lap as they drive for easy access when prompted for a sample.

While installation and maintenance are an issue, as well as the fact that the device has many limitations, complications, and false positives, those issues will be left for another discussion. In the meantime, what citizens need to know is that although the device can be hidden under the seat, in a console, or even a glove box when the vehicle is parked, there is simply no way to use the device while driving discretely. It will always be seen by the passengers. As a result, the ignition interlock device is the “scarlet letter” for every driver who has one.

Experienced and aggressive legal counsel is critical immediately after a DUI arrest so that the accused will have the best chance possible of avoiding the DOL suspension. If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI they will almost certainly face a DOL action and only have 20 days to respond. Regardless of where you live, the Seattle DUI Attorneys of Fox Bowman and Duarte can help.

Categories: Washington DUI