New York enforces mandatory interlock device use for all DUI offenders

New York mandates that all people convicted of driving while intoxicated install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles.

Across the United States, there are 22 states that require all convicted DUI offenders to use an ignition interlock device, according to National Conference on State Legislatures. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles notes that anyone convicted of misdemeanor or felony DWI must install an interlock device on any vehicle that person owns for a minimum period of 12 months. While ignition interlock devices allow people, who have been convicted of drunk driving, to continue driving, they come with a host of restrictions, as well as maintenance and installation fees.

Understanding ignition interlock devices

Ignition interlock devices are essentially miniature breath test devices that are installed directly into the ignition system of the offender's vehicle, with a unit that sits on the dashboard as well, according to the Century Council. In order for the vehicle to start, the driver must blow into a tube connected to the dashboard unit. The machine detects whether there is any alcohol present in the breath sample, and records the data. If the driver's blood alcohol concentration is lower than a preset amount, which is usually 0.02 percent, the car will start.

To keep the car going, the driver will be alerted to submit subsequent breath samples, known as rolling retests. If the driver fails a rolling retest or does not submit a breath sample, a small alarm will sound until the car is turned off. According to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, interlock devices are able to record critical information about an offender's driving trends, including how long the car was driven, all instances where the driver attempted to start the car and their BAC during those attempts.

Program requirements

According to New York courts, the following are required:

  • A person convicted of driving while intoxicated must have an ignition interlock device installed by a state-approved supplier within 10 business days of the court order. They then have three days to show the court that they have complied with the order.
  • Once the interlock device is installed, the offender must have their first maintenance appointment within 30 days. After that, an appointment is required every 60 days.
  • During the maintenance appointment, all of the information from the interlock device is downloaded and transmitted to the state. If the driver has a failed attempt at starting the vehicle, has failed a rolling retest or has not kept their mandatory maintenance appointments, the information will be given to the state.

The state may choose to extend the ignition interlock device program period or mandate additional penalties for people who violate the conditions of the program.

Partner with an attorney

Whether you have driven while intoxicated or are a victim of a wrongful DUI arrest, an attorney can provide essential legal assistance during your court case. With a thorough knowledge of New York law, an attorney can ensure that you receive maximum representation, which may help to minimize your penalties.

Keywords: DWI, drunk driving, interlock