Ignition Interlock Devices: When and How They’re Mandated

  • Criminal Defense DWI

If You’re Charged With a DWI, Will You Need an Ignition Interlock Device?

When someone is faced with a DWI charge, their first concern might be whether they will end up serving jail time or not. However, DWI penalties encompass a lot more than time in jail or prison, and it’s important to be cognizant of all the consequences you might face if convicted.

DWI defense team with experience can help you understand your situation better, including the chances of beating DWI charges and what your best defense options might be. They can also walk you through the consequences you can deal with if you are convicted, which include the use of an ignition interlock device.

What Are Ignition Interlock Devices?

An ignition interlock device is a device that is installed in personal vehicles and requires you to pass a breathalyzer test before the vehicle can be turned on. While devices made by various manufacturers are slightly different, they are generally comprised of parts such as a mouthpiece to blow in, a handheld unit to manage the device, and a cord that relays the information to the vehicle computer and ignition system.

To use an ignition interlock device, you must blow into the mouthpiece before you start the car. The device runs a blood alcohol content test, similar to the one law enforcement might use when testing for BAC levels after stopping someone for suspected DWI. If your BAC content indicates that you may be intoxicated, your vehicle will not start.

When Are Ignition Interlock Devices Mandated in New Jersey?

New Jersey law requires ignition interlock installation after even a first DWI conviction, though the length of time you must have the ignition interlock device depends on the nature of your conviction.

  • For a first offense conviction, the ignition interlock device is required for three months. Your license is forfeited until the device is installed.
  • After a second offense conviction, you may face a license suspension of one to two years, during which you may also need to have the ignition interlock device installed. You may also have to have the device installed for two to four years after your license suspension period.
  • The ignition interlock device requirements are the same for a third offense conviction as they are for a second offense conviction.

What Happens if You Don’t Comply With a Mandated Ignition Interlock Device?

The requirement for an ignition interlock device after a DWI conviction is a court order. This means you are legally compelled to comply with it. Failure to comply with it can result in a longer loss of your license. Specifically, if you try to avoid the ignition interlock device requirements and drive without the device, you can face another year of license revocation.

Who Pays for the Device and How Much Does It Cost?

The convicted person pays for the ignition interlock device. This is on top of numerous other penalties and fees you might end up paying if you are convicted of DWI, including:

  • Civil fines ranging from $250 to $1,000, depending on whether it is a first, second, or other DWI offense
  • Automobile insurance surcharges of $1,000 to $1,500 annually depending on how many DWI offenses you have been convicted of
  • A $100 surcharge for the Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund
  • A fee of $75 for the Safe and Secure Community Program
  • A $50 contribution to the Violent Crimes Compensation Fund
  • A $100 fee to the Intoxicated Driving Program
  • A $100 fee to the Motor Vehicle Commission for license restoration

As you can see, the expenses associated with a DWI conviction can mount quickly. You may pay between $2.50 and $3.50 per day to lease an ignition interlock device. You’ll need to work with a business that has a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) license and that will install a device from an approved list of ignition interlock device manufacturers.

Going by the average daily lease figure above, you might pay around $75 to $105 for the ignition interlock device each month. If you require one for a whole year, the cost might range between $900 and $1,260.

How Do You Get the Device Removed at the End of the Mandated Term?

Once you have served the required term with the ignition interlock device, the BAIID vendor that installed it must remove it. However, they will only do so if you have complied with all the requirements of the term, including any necessary repairs, maintenance, and calibration of the device. They will also check that there has not been more than one time when you failed the BAC test on the device in the previous 30 days.

If these requirements aren’t met, the BAIID vendor will not remove your device. It will also forward that information to the court. At that time, the judge may issue an order for extended ignition interlock device requirements, which can result in you having the device for up to 90 additional days.

Don’t Face DWI Charges Without Legal Help

DWI charges may be traffic crimes, but they can have a serious impact on your freedom, future, and finances. Don’t face such charges alone. Work with experienced DWI defense lawyers to protect your rights and support your defense. Call the Hernandez Law Firm, P.C., to discuss options for your DWI defense at 732-582-5076.

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