Smart Start Ignition Interlock Device

Ignition Interlock Devices – a hassle, but a ticket to getting back on the road

An ignition interlock device is an instrument that measures the level of alcohol on a driver’s breath before it lets him or her start the vehicle. Too high a breath alcohol level, and the car doesn’t start. These important breathalyzer tests keep drunk drivers off the road.

An ignition interlock device can be ordered by the court as the result of certain types of criminal convictions; it also can sometimes be installed voluntarily at the insistence of worried parents, or by employers who are concerned about their drivers being demonstrably alcohol free.

In certain types of aggravated drunk driving cases, an ignition interlock device may be a good DUI attorney’s key to freedom for their client. In some 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 ignition interlock device that requires them to take a breathalyzer test. The use of these devices can be an important weapon in a defense lawyer's arsenal.

If you are convicted of a DUI or of certain types of suspended license offenses, you may be required by the court to install an ignition interlock device 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 your state’s motor vehicle department may be significantly shortened if an ignition interlock device is installed and you regularly take its breathalyzer test. An attorney who know DUI or DWI laws can help you work toward qualifying for an ignition interlock device.

DUI Convictions and an Ignition Interlock Device

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

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 a state’s motor vehicle agency for a minimum of two years. However, any such suspension or revocation period could possibly be cut in half with the installation of an ignition interlock device that prompts routine taking of a breathalyzer test, and by meeting other requirements. Only an experienced DWI lawyer in your area will know if you qualify and how to help you get an ignition interlock device.

Driving on a suspended license: When someone is convicted of driving on a suspended license (where the license is suspended due to a prior DUI conviction), the court must impose an ignition interlock device requirement for up to a maximum of three years from the date of conviction.

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

or online at

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