What is an Ignition Interlock Device, and Do You Need One?


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Impaired driving is dangerous driving, and the State of Texas takes the matter very seriously. In some instances, the law requires those convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) to have ignition interlock systems installed in their vehicles if they are going to continue driving. If you already have a DWI offense under your belt, however, these devices are generally mandatory. But what is an ignition interlock device? Read on to learn more.

Ignition Interlock Devices

Ignition interlock devices are electronic devices that an outside company installs in your vehicle. This piece of equipment acts as an in-car breathalyzer test that checks you every time you start your car. When you go to your vehicle to start it, you will need to breathe into the device, and if it detects any alcohol on your breath, your car will not be operational because it will not start. Once you have successfully started your car – after the ignition interlock device fails to detect alcohol on your breath – the device will occasionally require you to retest by breathing back into the device. If it detects alcohol during this process, it will cause your lights to flash and your horn to honk until you pull over and stop the car – though it naturally will not stop your car while you are on the road. In other words, it is testing you to ensure that you did not start drinking after you started your vehicle in the first place. The goal of these ignition interlock devices is to put the kibosh on drinking and driving before it becomes a problem.

What about First-Time Offenses

Ignition interlock devices are not just for repeat offenders. In certain situations, first-time offenders who exhibit a very high blood alcohol content are required to have these devices installed in their cars. Further, if the driver convicted of DWI is under the age of 21, installation of the ignition interlock device is generally a requirement.

What about the Test Results?

The breath samples collected by the ignition interlock system are used in the evaluation of your case in the following ways:

  • The breath samples are collected and transmitted to the court, the DMV, your probation officer, or any other entity as designated by the court in your specific case.
  • Your results may be transmitted to their destination in real-time or on a schedule, such as weekly, monthly, or even randomly.
  • During your supervision meetings with your probation officer, your readings will be considered, and if they are consistently over the machine’s preset limit, this fact can serve as the basis for a charge of probation violation.

Contact an Experienced Attorney about Your DWI Charges

DWI charges are serious charges that can seriously affect your life. Attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is committed to applying his considerable experience and skill in protection of your rights. Mr. Pritchard is here to help, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.

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