An ignition interlock device is a special locking device attached to your vehicle’s ignition that measures BAC, blood alcohol concentration. The unit will not allow the vehicle to start if the driver has been drinking. In some cases, an ignition interlock device is required in order to reinstate your driver’s license after a repeat DUI conviction. In Florida, an ignition interlock device is mandatory for high BAC and repeat offenders. Drivers who have been required by law to have an ignition interlock device are not allowed to drive without it.

How the Ignition Interlock Device Works

The ignition interlock device must be professionally installed and is connected to the ignition on the vehicle. The unit has a device that you must blow into in order to take a reading. The device measures the BAC, which is programmed according to specific instructions per law. If the person’s BAC is within the established limits, the vehicle will be allowed to start. The unit is also preset to require additional breath testing at intervals while driving. If the driver does not comply or if the breath test indicates a BAC that exceeds the maximum, the vehicle will provide a warning alarm and will shut down. This subsequent testing is typically done about every 15 to 30 minutes of driving.

BAC Data

The ignition interlock device stores data from the device which is downloaded during calibration. The unit must be brought in for calibration at regular intervals, usually every 30, 60, or 90 days. The information collected and stored is then downloaded and sent to authorities. If the information shows that a violation has occurred, the driver will be in violation of the terms of the probation and the driver’s license could be revoked. While the ignition interlock device is generally considered reliable, there are some things that can make it untrustworthy. For example, you should not use a mouthwash that contains alcohol before using driving because it could provide a false positive indication.

Getting an Ignition Interlock Device

If using an ignition interlock device is a court ordered as a condition of your driving privileges, it is your responsibility to have it installed, calibrated, and maintained. There will be an initial installation charge as well as regular monthly fees. The unit must be installed in any vehicle that the driver will be operating. In other words, if so ordered, it would be illegal for a driver to operate a vehicle without the device installed in it. Once a unit is installed in the vehicle it will not operate unless the BAC is calculated first. If you have been ordered to use a device you will be provided with a list of providers in your area. Providers must be state approved.

DUI Laws

If you have been convicted of excessive DUI or of a second (or subsequent) DUI in Florida you will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in order to reinstate your driving privileges. If you’ve been arrested for DUI charges it is essential to get immediate assistance from an experienced DUI attorney. Your lawyer will review your case and assist in your defense. When possible, your attorney will work to get the charges lowered and will defend your rights. Using an ignition interlock device may be annoying but it could be a way to get back your driver’s license.