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Can an ignition interlock device solve your DWI dilemma?

Perhaps you are driving home from a weekend party. You are in high spirits, mainly because you had a few beers. You are only five minutes from pulling into your driveway when a law enforcement officer stops you for cruising through a stop sign. 

The officer suspects you of driving while intoxicated, and testing shows your blood alcohol content to be above the legal limit. You now face suspension of your driver's license, and the only way for you to get back on the road is by participating in the Minnesota ignition interlock program.

Qualifying for an ignition interlock device

In the ongoing effort to prevent alcohol-related crashes on Minnesota roads, the law specifies that the court can approve an ignition interlock device for you as a first-time DWI offender. You must also fulfill the following requirements:

  • Apply for a Class D license and pay the fee
  • Provide proof of auto insurance
  • Pass the DWI knowledge test
  • Pay a $680 reinstatement fee 
  • Sign the ignition interlock agreement
  • Purchase special license plates if yours were impounded

Operating the ignition interlock device

The IID is a small device about the size of a mobile phone that attaches to the dashboard of your car and wires into the ignition system. Basically, it consists of a computer and a mouthpiece. To start the car, you must breathe into the mouthpiece. The computer records your blood alcohol content; it must be below 0.02 percent, or the car will not start. If you pass the test, you can expect random rechecks as you drive.

Trying to trick the device

Drivers have gone to great lengths trying to trick the IID. Some enlist the aid of sober friends to slide behind the wheel and take the test on the vehicle owner's behalf. The ploys do not work, and a criminal defense attorney will tell you that the act of trying to deceive the device is punishable as a misdemeanor offense. Your best course of action is to serve your time with the IID, get your life back to normal after the stress of the DWI and resist the temptation to drink and drive again.

 

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