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Ignition Interlock Cases

The ignition interlock is a small device with a mouthpiece that is attached to the electronic system of a vehicle. It is usually installed in or near the center console next to the driver's seat. If a car is equipped with an ignition interlock, the car will not start unless the driver blows lower than .026 into the device. Further, while driving the interlock will signal for a new sample that must be successfully given for the vehicle to continue running. All test results are recorded electronically. The interlock must be serviced by the interlock provider monthly to download the data from the device.

A driver may be required to participate in the ignition interlock program by the court, the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), or both. A driver who blows a .15 or higher, or refuses the breath test may elect to participate in the ignition interlock program. The driver could elect to participate in the program instead of requesting a hearing to challenge the proposed suspension. The driver could also request a hearing to challenge the suspension, but request an interlock if the challenge is unsuccessful. There are various considerations that should be taken into account when deciding to participate in the ignition interlock program and or whether to request a hearing and it is essential to consult with an attorney when making that decision.

Further, if the driver was to be convicted of drunk driving in court and points were assessed, the MVA will likely again attempt to suspend or revoke the driver’s license. It is possible, under certain circumstances, to participate in the interlock program in lieu of a suspension or revocation for points stemming from a drunk driving charge. Again there are various considerations that should be taken into account when deciding to participate in the ignition interlock program and it is essential to consult with an attorney when making that decision.

The court may also order a driver convicted of drunk driving to participate in the ignition interlock program as a condition of probation. For offenses committed on or after October 1, 2011, where there is a test result of 0.15 g/210L and a conviction under § 21-902(a) or two § 21-902 convictions within five years, the court is required to order ignition interlock as a condition of probation. In the event of a test of over 0.025 g/210L or a rolling refusal, the probation officer is notified of any violations of interlock program and could attempt to violate the driver’s probation as a result. There are many viable defenses to probation violation hearings stemming from interlock failures and it is important to contact an attorney to assist in your defense.

What constitutes a violation of the interlock program depends on whether it was imposed by court or the MVA. Because a driver ordered by the MVA to participate is facing a suspension or a revocation if terminated from the program and a driver ordered by court may be facing jail time if terminated from the program it is ESSENTIAL to consult with an attorney immediately should there be any issues or problems with an interlock device.

Approved service providers are listed on the MVA's Web site and on the back of the temporary license issued by the officer.