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What you need to know if you get an ignition interlock device

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2021 | DWI

Currently, ignition interlock devices (IIDs) aren’t mandated by New Jersey law for first-time DWI offenders unless their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is determined to be at least .15% (nearly twice the legal limit). However, a judge can order that anyone who pleads guilty to or is convicted of a DWI have an IID installed on their vehicle if they want to be able to drive.

An IID can be the fastest way to regain your driver’s license after a DWI. However, if you don’t understand how to properly use it and the regulations that come with it, you could find yourself in even further legal jeopardy.

How an IID works

An IID is a breathalyzer-type device that is connected to your ignition. You have to blow into it to show that you have no alcohol on your breath (or whatever limit is set) before your vehicle will start. The IID will also prompt you to do a retest intermittently while you’re driving. 

Don’t even think about having someone blow into it for you or tampering with it in any way. The manufacturers of these devices have had years to improve them and make them nearly impossible to cheat.

A few things to avoid

Because the IID requires these retests, you don’t want to leave the car running if you’re not going to be in it. If it prompts you for a retest and you miss it, that is recorded as a failed test. If you need your car to warm up on a cold morning, stay in it. If you have to run back into the house to get something, turn off the engine. 

Be careful about consuming products that can give false positives. For example, anything that contains alcohol molecules can register on an IID as alcohol. One good rule of thumb is to avoid anything that contains an ingredient that ends with -ol or -yl, including cold and allergy medications.

You’ll be given instructions for how frequently you need to take your vehicle to an authorized servicer to have your IID calibrated. Be sure you don’t delay or miss these calibrations. 

If you have any questions about your IID, talk with your attorney. They can help you ensure that you complete your time with this device successfully so that you can get your driver’s license fully reinstated.