Commonly Asked Questions About the Ignition Interlock Device | Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys

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Commonly Asked Questions About the Ignition Interlock Device

If you are facing charges for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), then you have probably heard about an ignition interlock device (IID) and know it may be part of the penalties you face. To learn more about an IID and how it may affect you, contact our experienced Pittsburgh DUI defense lawyers at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys and review these commonly asked questions:

  • What is an IID? An IID is a breath test device that is installed in your vehicle. It is directly connected to the engine, and a module is attached to your dashboard. You must use the IID to prove you are alcohol-free before you can start your vehicle, and as you continue driving. When you blow into the device and it detects alcohol, this information locks the engine for a period of time and is logged into the storage component of the device. This electronically stored information is sent to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). If there is information regarding a failed breath test, you will face additional consequences.
  • When do I have to use an IID? You may be required to install an IID on every vehicle you own after a DUI conviction. You may also be required to use an IID if you were able to obtain limited driving privileges after a license suspension of at least one year. While you have an IID, you will be on a restricted driver’s license, and you will not be allowed to drive any other vehicle that does not have an IID.
  • What if I do not own a car? If you do not own a vehicle yet are required to use an IID, then you may have a certified IID vendor verify that you do not have a vehicle and you can move forward with obtaining an Ignition Interlock License.
  • How do I get an IID? You will have to work with a state-approved IID vendor to lease a PennDot-approved device and have it installed in your vehicle.
  • How much does it cost? You will be required to pay for the installation of the IID, the maintenance, and the removal. Maintenance includes regular service appointments and potential emergency repairs. Leasing an IID for one year can cost over $1,000.
  • What if I cannot afford an IID? If you cannot afford an IID, you may choose to complete a longer license suspension or apply for a hardship exemption. If your income is 200 percent or more below the poverty line, the hardship exemption allows you to have an IID installed in only one vehicle.
  • When do I have to blow into the device? You are required to blow into the IID before you can start your vehicle. The same is true for anyone who wants to start the vehicle. If a friend borrows your car, they too will have to blow a clean breath sample to start the vehicle. You or another driver will also have to periodically blow into the machine while driving.
  • What happens if the IID detects alcohol before the vehicle is turned on? If the machine detects alcohol when you wish to start the car, then your vehicle will be locked for a period of time. Your IID will give you a second chance. If your breath is alcohol-free, you can start the vehicle. If your breath is not alcohol-free a second time, then the ignition is locked for a longer duration.
  • What happens if the IID detects alcohol while the vehicle is running? If at any time during the drive you have alcohol on your breath, an alarm will sound informing you to stop driving, and the IID will record the information. The vehicle does not automatically shut off for safety reasons.
  • Can there be false positive results? It is very rare for there to be a false positive result, though it is possible depending on the type of the IID. Typically, foods, gums, breath mints, hairsprays, and perfumes or colognes do not cause an IID to detect alcohol on your breath. The most likely cause of a false positive is mouthwash or a mouth spray that contains alcohol and was used within minutes of breathing into the machine. However, this is easily avoided. If you believe you had a false positive result, call your lawyer immediately.
  • Can someone else blow into the IID for me? Physically, another person is capable of blowing into the IID before you start the vehicle. However, this is illegal. If you need to drive, you must blow into the IID yourself.
  • What happens if I drive a vehicle without an IID? If you are caught driving a vehicle that does not have an IID when you are on a restricted license, then you may be punished with incarceration, fines, and an additional period of being required to use the IID.
  • How long do I have to use the IID? You will be required to drive with the IID for one year after your license is restored.

Contact Our DUI Defense Lawyers For Answers to Your Questions

These answers only cover a small amount of information regarding an IID. For more information on these devices, contact us at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys today. You can use our online contact form or call (412) 281-2146 to schedule a free consultation.