Facing charges for drunk driving can have various life-altering consequences. One of the common penalties you face is having a car breathalyzer placed in your vehicle, costing you money and added pressure.
If you’ve been charged with drunk driving in Indiana and need top-quality legal defense, count on Stracci Law Group.
What Is an Ignition Interlock Device and How Does It Work?
An ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer connected to your car’s ignition system. The definition of ignition is the part of the vehicle where the fuel is ignited, allowing the car to start.
A third party installs the ignition interlock device (IID) into your car. The IID is a compact device about the size of a cell phone. Before attempting to start your car, you’ll have to provide a breath sample.
Using an IID usually looks like the following:
- Upon entering the vehicle, you blow into the device’s mouthpiece.
- If the breath sample is clean, you can start your car.
- If the device detects a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the limit of 0.02 or higher, your car will not start.
Additionally, IIDs often require “rolling samples”, meaning you’ll have to retest and ensure your BAC is still at an acceptable level. If the device detects alcohol in the breath during a retest, the car will stop, and you will be unable to drive any further. However, the car will not generally stop in the middle of the road, giving you time to pull over.
IIDs have internal memory that stores all of the information from every test. This information can be downloaded and provided to the court for their review.
What Are the Interlock Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in Indiana?
If you’re charged and convicted with driving under the influence (DUI) or operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) in Indiana, you may face various penalties under Indiana DUI law.
Penalties for first-time offenders include:
- Jail time for 60 days to one year.
- Fines of $500 to $5,000.
- Having an IID installed in your vehicle.
- License suspension for up to two years.
For second DUI/OWI offenses, penalties can include:
- Jail time for ten days to three years.
- Fines up to $10,000
- An IID for a longer period than a first offense.
- License suspension of 180 days to two years.
For third-time offenders or individuals with two DUI/OWI offenses in the last five years, penalties are more severe, including:
- Jail time of 10 days to three years.
- Fines up to $10,000.
- An IID in your vehicle for several years.
- License suspension for one to ten years.
If you face charges, a DUI/OWI attorney can help you.
Who Needs an Ignition Interlock Device?
In Indiana, whether it’s your first DUI/OWI offense or a subsequent offense, you may face having an Ignition Interlock Device placed in your vehicle. An IID serves to avoid any further instances of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In many cases, a judge will require an IID as a condition of reinstatement for your license if it was temporarily suspended when:
- You’re getting a probationary license, or
- You’ve been convicted of a DUI/OWI within five years of another DUI/OWI conviction.
If a court determines you need a DUI interlock device placed in your vehicle, the length of time you can expect to have it in your car depends on the number of DUI/OWI offenses you’ve had and the details of your situation.
How Much Do Breathalyzers Cost and Who Pays for Them?
In Indiana, defendants must typically cover the cost of a vehicle interlock device. Costs commonly include the installation, maintenance, and removal of the device:
- Installation cost ranges from $50-$150, depending on the company and the vehicle you have the device installed in
- The device itself costs $50-$150 a month, which includes leasing, monitoring, and any maintenance the device may need.
- Removal fees are similar to the installation, costing $50-$150.
Some third-party companies that install the IID interlock device may offer payment plans to relieve some of the financial burdens.
What Is the Process of Obtaining and Installing an Ignition Interlock Device in Indiana?
When a judge determines you need an automobile breathalyzer interlock, they’ll usually allow a window of time for you to lease the Ignition Interlock Device and install it in your vehicle. The process of obtaining an IID commonly involves:
- Finding a third-party company to install the device.
- Leasing the IID device.
- Get the device professionally installed in your vehicle.
Once the device is installed in your vehicle, you’ll need to give proof to your probation officer or the court. In most cases, you can provide a copy of the lease agreement for the IID and a copy of the receipt you receive after installation in your car.
Additionally, if you have a personal vehicle and a company vehicle, you’ll need to lease two devices and have them installed in both cars. You’ll also need to provide your probation officer or the court with proof of the leasing and installation of these devices as well — similar to your primary vehicle.
If you’re wondering where to get an ignition interlock device, you can find a list of approved providers on the Indiana DMV website.
Tricking the IID and Tampering Violations
It’s common for offenders to try to trick the car interlock system. However, these tactics seldom work, and attempting to trick or tamper with the IID can result in consequences. These devices can sense when you’re attempting to tamper with it and may notify the court.
Common tricks include:
- Chewing gum or using mouthwash.
- Having another person blow into the device.
- Eating before blowing into the device.
- Using a balloon on the mouthpiece to blow air into the device.
- Sucking on a penny.
Because tampering with devices is such a common occurrence, your device may have additional protection to avoid this. Some devices have a camera, and others require you to inhale or hum as you use the device to more easily detect any deception.
Tampering with an IID is illegal. Penalties could include extended license suspension, loss of a restricted license, hefty fines, or jail time.
Speak to an Experienced Drunk Driving Attorney Today
If you’re facing charges for a DUI or OWI, speak to an Indiana drunk driving attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can help create a defense strategy to fight your charges and avoid penalties, like an ignition interlock device.
The Stracci Law Group has nearly 80 years of experience helping Indiana clients facing drunk driving charges. We believe our knowledge, skills, and experience have earned us the praise and recognition of our community. We always go the extra mile for our clients, in and out of the courtroom.
Contact us today to schedule a meeting with a qualified drunk driving attorney in Indiana.