What are ignition interlock devices?

| Sep 22, 2020 | DUI/DWI Charges |

If you have been convicted of a DUI or a DWI in Minnesota, you may have your driver’s license suspended. Not only are you forced to pay hefty fines, but you may be unable to use your car to get to work, school or around town.

Not all DUI offenders are required to use an ignition interlock device as part of their probation. However, these devices enable you to use your vehicle, while still serving out the terms of your DUI.

Ignition interlock device explained

These devices wire directly into the ignition system of your vehicle, with a dashboard monitor and an attached camera. In order to start your car, you must exhale into a tube connected to the monitor. The machine then measures your blood alcohol content level, and if it is below a preset level, the car will start. The machine also requests periodic breath samples during the drive.

The rules

In Minnesota, the court may issue ignition interlock devices for the following lengths of time, according to the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services:

  • First offense with BAC level below 0.16: 90 days or 180 days if under 21 years old
  • First offense with BAC level over 0.16: One year
  • Second offense within 10 years with BAC level below 0.16: One year
  • Second offense within 10 years with BAC level over 0.16: Two years
  • Third offense within 10 years: Three years
  • Fourth offense within 10 years: Four years

To qualify for an interlock device, you must own a vehicle and have current insurance. You must be at least 18 years old and have no outstanding withdrawals on your license. After you send the application and pay the associated fees, you must take your car to an approved IID installer.

Furthermore, you must take your vehicle in for a maintenance appointment every 30 to 60 days depending on your agreement. During the appointment, technicians download all data recorded by the unit, including startup attempts, BAC level and suspected tampering. They also calibrate the machine and ensure it is working correctly.