In Michigan and many other states across the country, some drinking and driving related offenses require not only that the defendant pay a fine and/or serve time but that they receive an interlock ignition device for their vehicle as well.
A common question is what actually is this device?
An interlock ignition device or IID is a device, like a breathalyzer, installed into a vehicle. The device can analyze the breath sample and will prevent the vehicle from starting if a certain level of alcohol is detected. In many cases, drivers will also be required to submit to “rolling tests” as well. This is when the driver is asked to blow into the device while driving. If for some reason the driver fails these tests, the vehicle does not shut off immediately instead, the device will first warn the driver with a series of lights or sounds that the test was failed and then the vehicle will shut off. The court has access to the information off the device via downloads from a chip inside.
How do you avoid getting an interlock ignition device?
The only way to avoid having to get an interlock ignition device is to avoid being accused and then convicted of drunk driving related offenses however, not all convictions lead to interlock devices. In Michigan, repeat offenders, convictions with a BAC of .17 or higher (super drunk) or other certain drinking and driving convictions with additional circumstances involved may all be required to have an interlock ignition device installed into their vehicle in addition to fines, jail time, suspensions and points.
How do you get your device removed?
If you find yourself with a conviction which requires you to have an interlock ignition device, the only way to get it removed is by making sure that you avoid drinking and driving. In most cases, the device will be installed for a minimum of one year and monitored every month. Any violations of the conditions of your restricted license and use of the IID, and this time will be increased. In Michigan, these violations are categorized as minor or major.
Minor violations include less than 3 start-up test failures within a monitoring period, or if the driver fails to report to the installer for servicing within 7 days after his/her scheduled monitoring date. A minor violation will result in a 3 month extension of the required installation time.
Major violations include rolling retest violations, an arrest for drunk or drugged driving, tampering with the device or committing 3 minor violations in one monitoring period. Any of these violations and the driver will immediately have their license revoked.
While these devices may be more than a little annoying , they are a way of life for many Michigan drivers convicted of certain drinking and driving offenses. As they can have issues with accuracy, it is important that you understand things such as false positives and what you can do to make sure you don’t get a false reading. Pay attention and make sure you talk to someone right away if you believe the device may be inaccurate as your rights as a Michigan driver depend on it.
Harris Law is a Northern Michigan attorney who specializes in all types of Michigan laws including criminal law and laws relating to drinking and driving.