Smart Start Ignition Interlock Device

Ignition Interlock Devices

An ignition interlock device is an alcohol breath-testing instrument that prevents the vehicle from starting unless the driver blows in it to demonstrate that they are alcohol free. Ignition interlock devices may be ordered by the court as the result of certain types of convictions; they are also sometimes installed voluntarily at the insistence of concerned parents, or by an employer who is concerned about their drivers being demonstrably alcohol free.

In certain types of aggravated drunk driving cases, an ignition interlock may be the client's key to freedom. In extreme cases, both the judge and the prosecutor may agree to allow a person to be released from custody on the condition that any vehicle they drive be equipped with an interlock. The creative use of these devices can be an important weapon in a defense lawyer's arsenal.

If you are convicted of a DUI, or convicted of certain types of driving with a suspended driver's license offenses, you may be required by the court to install an interlock on any vehicles you own or operate for a maximum of three years from the date of the conviction. Also, if you are convicted of a second-offense (or greater) DUI, the mandatory license suspensions imposed by the DMV may be significantly shortened where an ignition interlock device is installed.

DUI Convictions and Offenses

First-Offense DUI convictions: Ignition interlock devices are generally not required, but may be ordered in the court's discretion. Heightened consideration for imposition of the interlock device is given where the defendant has a BAC that is .15 or higher, two (2) or more prior moving violations, or refused chemical testing at the time of the arrest. There are some areas in California that routinely impose interlocks in first-offense cases where the BAC is .10 or higher!

Multiple-Offense DUI convictions: Courts will generally order an ignition interlock device for those convicted of a second-, third-, or fourth-offense DUI (within 10 years of a prior DUI, as calculated from arrest date to arrest date). A multiple-offense DUI conviction will result in a driver's license suspension or revocation from the DMV for a minimum of two years. However, any such suspension or revocation period can be cut in half with the installation of an ignition interlock device and by meeting other requirements.

Driving on a Suspended License: Where someone is convicted of driving on a suspended license (where the license is suspended due to a prior DUI conviction (Vehicle Code Sec. 14601.2)), the court must impose an interlock requirement for up to a maximum of three (3) years from the date of conviction.

If you would like further information about ignition interlock devices, please contact Smart Start, the nation's leading provider of ignition interlock technology, at:

or online at

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