DUI PENALTIES AND IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE

WHAT IS AN IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE?

In basic terms it is an electrical device, which is attached to your vehicle’s ignition. When a driver wishes to start their car up they must first provide a breath sample into the device. If the breath sample shows a breath alcohol content (BAC) level above 0.025 the vehicle will not start. A judge may order/require a threshold lower than 0.025 depending on the facts of the case.

WHO IS REQUIRED TO HAVE AN IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE INSTALLED?

Potentially anyone convicted of DUI in the State of Florida can have, at the courts discretion, an ignition interlock device ordered by the court. However, there are some mandatory times where the court must order an ignition interlock device be installed, they are:

  • First Conviction if BAC at 0.15 or above, or a minor in the car
    • At Least 6 Months
  • Second Conviction
    • At Least 1 Year
  • Second Conviction if BAC at 0.15 or above, or a minor in the car
    • At least 2 years
  • Third Conviction
    • At least 2 years
  • Four or More Convictions
    • At least 5 years

An ignition interlock device is also required when a driver convicted of DUI applies for a restricted license for work or business purposes regardless of how many times they have been convicted of the same crime before. So even if a person who is convicted of DUI but doesn’t fall into one of the mandatory situations listed above, if their driver’s license was suspended by the court, in order to get a restricted drivers license they must get an ignition interlock device installed.

WHAT IF THE INDIVIDUAL CONVICTED OF DUI HAS MORE THAN ONE VEHICLE?

The statute requires an interlock device on all vehicles the person owns and routinely operates. This is something you need to discuss with your defense attorney so that a legal argument may be made on behalf of your spouse and or partner to be able to use a second car without an ignition interlock device placed on it.

CAN SOMEONE OTHER THAN THE DEFENDANT USE THE IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE TO START THE CAR?

Yes, anyone who drives the vehicle will have to use the device in order to start the vehicle. To prevent circumvention of the device, random rolling retests are required. If the individual does not have the person who provided the original sample ride with him/her to present an additional breath sample a violation may occur. Note an initial retest is required within the 1st 5 minutes of starting the vehicle. Additional random retests occur between 15 to 30 minutes later.

However, according to Florida ignition interlock laws:

  • You can be charged with a crime if you tamper with or circumvent the operation of an ignition interlock device.
  • You can be charged with a crime if you have someone else blow into your ignition interlock device for the purpose of starting your vehicle. Even “requesting” or “soliciting” someone else to blow into the device is a crime.
  • You can be charged with a crime if you blow into an ignition interlock device for someone else for the purpose of starting his or her vehicle.
  • You can be charged with a crime if you lend your unequipped vehicle to someone whom you know is operating under an ignition interlock device restriction.
  • You can be charged with a crime if you attempt to borrow or lease another person’s motor vehicle without first informing them that your driving privilege has an ignition interlock device restriction.

WHO PAYS FOR AN IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE?

The Defendant convicted of a DUI, who is ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed, must pay for the installation, rental costs and de-installation costs associated with the device. If the defendant is indigent the Court may order that some of the fines, which the defendant must pay, can go towards the costs associated with the device.

 

This chart is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or a substitution for legal advice.