How Does an Ignition Interlock Device Work

Ignition interlock devices are machines installed in automobiles and are designed to prevent the car’s ignition system from working if the machine detects the presence of alcohol on the operator’s breath. Often, persons convicted of driving while intoxicated are required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle to be allowed to drive it.

Installation of an ignition interlock device is mandatory for first-time DWI offenders in New Jersey if their blood alcohol content was 0.15 percent or greater. The device must be installed in the vehicle during license suspension and for six months to one year following license restoration. If the BAC was lower than 0.15 percent, it is up to the judge’s discretion whether to require the installation. Installation of an ignition interlock device is also mandatory for a driver’s second and third DWI offense. The device must be used during suspension and for one to three years thereafter.

Before starting a car with an ignition interlock device installed, the driver is required to blow into a tube attached to the device. If the driver’s BAC is measured at 0.05 percent or greater, the device will not permit the car to start. There is a lockout period after each failed test during which the driver must wait before trying again.

Once the car has successfully been started, the ignition interlock device may signal to the driver that a rolling retest is necessary. The driver is required to blow into the tube while driving. If the driver fails the test, or fails to take it, an alarm goes off signaling the driver to stop. The device does not shut the car off while running.

Ignition interlock devices are only one possible consequence of a DUI. Working with an experienced defense attorney can help those facing charges understand not only the possible ramifications, but also the path forward in defending against the charges.

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