The People’s Lawyer

The role of ignition interlock devices in DUI convictions

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2024 | Drunk Driving Charges

If you’re facing a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction in West Virginia, one of the penalties you might face is the suspension of your driving privileges. Although there’s a way to regain your driving privileges, part of the terms for reinstatement is the requirement to use an ignition interlock device (IID).

An IID is an alcohol breath test device for your vehicle. Its purpose is to prevent someone who has been drinking alcohol from starting their car. If a court grants you limited driving privileges following a suspension for DUI, you can expect to use an IID for months or even a whole year before your license is fully restored.

How does an IID work?

The IID is a small handheld device wired to your vehicle’s ignition system. Before you can start your car, you must breathe into the device. If your breath-alcohol concentration is above the programmed limit – usually set to .02% in West Virginia – the vehicle won’t start.

West Virginia law on IIDs

According to state law, a court may order a person convicted of DUI to install an IID in their vehicle. This requirement is particularly common for repeat offenders or those with high BAC levels at the time of the arrest. First-time offenders may face an IID requirement if their blood/breath alcohol concentration level at the time of the offense was .15% or higher. Other factors that may lead to an IID requirement include refusing a secondary chemical test or the drunk driver causing an accident that killed another person.

Cost and maintenance

The cost of an IID includes installation and monthly rental fees, which can amount to hundreds of dollars over time. You are responsible for these costs. Depending on how long a court has ordered you to use an IID, you might pay for up to two years of use.

Additionally, the IID installer must regularly inspect the device to ensure proper function and download the data logs, which the authorities will review.

Non-compliance and tampering

Trying to bypass or tamper with an IID is a serious offense. Attempting to circumvent an IID is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to six months of imprisonment and $1,000 in fines.

After a DUI conviction, an IID may be your pathway to reclaiming your driving privileges. Compliance with the interlock program demonstrates responsibility and can be a step towards restoring your license. For more information on the specifics of IID requirements and the reinstatement process, a legal professional with DUI experience may be able to help.