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Ignition Interlock Devices for Michigan DUI Offenders

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The breath alcohol ignition interlock device, more commonly referred to as the ignition interlock device (IID), was developed with the purpose of assisting law enforcement in punishing DUI/DWI offenders and for preventing repeat drunk driving violations. All states in the country now allow the courts to impose the installation and use of an ignition interlock device as a penalty, condition of probation or requirement for a restricted driver's license following a conviction for DUI, and many states make IID use mandatory following certain types of convictions. Michigan is among the latter group, since a repeat DUI offender or one who was arrested with an especially high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) will be required to use an IID.

The ignition interlock device is essentially a breathalyzer which is hardwired into your vehicle's ignition and other control systems. It requires that you provide a breath sample every time you want to start the car, and if the device detects a breath alcohol concentration greater than .025, the vehicle will be immobilized. In addition, you will have to perform "rolling tests" at random intervals while driving, and failure of the test will cause the headlights to flash and the horn to honk in order to alert law enforcement. A failed test will be reported, and may result in an increased period of mandatory IID use or perhaps even in reinstatement of the driver's license suspension or revocation.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Michigan ranks 19th in the nation for the rate of fatal motor vehicle accidents which are caused by drunk drivers, with 29 percent of all fatal car accidents involving a driver who had been drinking or using drugs. It is not surprising, in light of figures such as these, that the Michigan legislature would take measures to cut down on the number of traffic deaths by passing the ignition interlock device law. When the time comes that you have been arrested and charged with DUI, on the other hand, the matter becomes far more personal since it could have a major impact on your life.

Costs of an Ignition Interlock Device

If you are ordered to use an ignition interlock device, the order will extend beyond your own vehicle to include any other automobiles or trucks which you normally drive. As a result, you will have to choose between taking the necessary steps to have a device installed in any vehicles which you drive at work as well as a family member's car which you regularly drive, or foregoing driving. The costs of an IID vary depending on which vendor you choose, but in most cases they include around $50 for installation of the device and approximately $100 per month in fees for routine maintenance, calibration and monitoring. You will not be permitted to drive any vehicle which does not have the device installed, and any test failures or attempts to avoid the test or to tamper with the equipment will be reported to the authorities and may end up in additional penalties against you.

When is ignition interlock use required?

The ignition interlock device is ordered for use in cases of habitual offenders who have been convicted of drinking and driving twice or more within the past 7 years or 3 or more times in the past 19 years. It is also required under the new "Super Drunk" DUI/DWI law, which applies in cases where an offender has been caught with a BAC of .17 or more. In most cases, ignition interlock device use is ordered for a year, but as mentioned above this period may be extended. If you are determined to protect your privacy and to avoid the cost and complication of being ordered to use an IID, contact Freedman Law Group for a free consultation with our Michigan DUI attorney!

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