Wyatt Hardy, PLC

Criminal, Family and Probate Law

Wyatt Hardy, PLC

Criminal, Family and Probate Law


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Everything you need to know about ignition interlock devices

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2024 | DWI Defense

It’s a criminal offense to drive a vehicle while drunk in Arkansas. Known as driving while intoxicated (DWI), a conviction for the offense can lead to fines, jail time and a license suspension.

But in addition to those penalties, a court may also order the convicted driver to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on their car. What is this IID, how does it work and for how long should a driver use one?

What’s an IID?

An ignition interlock device, or IID, is a device that effectively locks a motor vehicle from starting. To unlock the vehicle, the driver must blow into the IID, which measures their breath alcohol level. Only an alcohol-clean level will allow the device to unlock the car for use.

These devices electronically keep a record of activities to track the driver’s use of the vehicle and their alcohol levels. A log is printed out every time an IID is calibrated, which the authorities review to ensure the driver remains sober.

When is a driver required to use an IID?

Per state rules, the Office of Driver Services can put a restriction on a driver convicted of DWI, requiring the driver to install an IID on their car as early as their first offense. Not only does this order the driver to have the device on their vehicle, but it also restricts them from using other vehicles without IIDs.

Attempting to tamper with an IID, start an IID-equipped car for someone else, or drive an IID-less vehicle despite a license restriction can lead to criminal charges.

For how long should a driver use an IID?

For first-time offenders, the mandatory IID period is usually six months. But for repeat DWI offenders, or those with aggravating circumstances (i.e., caught with a significantly high alcohol level at the time of their offense, driving drunk with a minor passenger, etc.) the duration can extend to up to two years.

These lengths of time are important because drivers don’t actually purchase IIDs – they rent them from an accredited IID installer who also handles the calibration and submission of activity logs to the authorities. The costs to install, rent and maintain an IID can quickly add up.

IIDs are part of a driver’s DWI sentencing. While they make starting a car even more of a chore, it’s a punishable offense to try to circumvent using an IID. They’re also expensive to maintain, especially for drivers ordered to use them for a couple of years. If you’re facing DWI charges, don’t underestimate the possible penalties. A legal professional may be able to advise you on your case and explain in detail what punishments await you.