As a condition of getting your driver’s license restored after having been suspend from a DUI, the Department of Motor Vehicles might require you it install an Ignition Interlock Device. This is also known as an IID. On this page, you can learn more about the IID, how it functions, and how to use it in your vehicle.
What is the IID?
The purpose of an IID is to ensure the driver of the vehicle cannot operate the vehicle when their breath as registered by the device is higher that the state limit. For those 21 and older in their personal vehicles (in Connecticut) that means a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08% or higher. For CDL holders driving a commercial vehicle, the limit is .04% or higher. Finally, for those under 21 it is .02% or higher.
To start the car, the vehicle operator has to blow into the device, typically for a few seconds or long enough for the device to register your BAC. Once this is successfully done, the vehicle will start.
It is important to note that several failed attempts (depending on the specific device you have installed) will lock the device. In this case, you will have to wait some time before attempting to start the vehicle again. The idea behind the IID is simple – it is supposed to keep those that have consumed alcohol from starting the car. The IID also prevents those who are driving already not to continue consuming alcoholic beverages..
Once the vehicle is started, the IID will periodically perform “random rolling tests.” What this means is that every now and then while the vehicle is in operation, the device will prompt the driver to pull over and give a breath sample. Typically, if the driver ignores this retest protocol the device will sound an alarm until the driver pulls over and completes the test. If this retest is failed, like the original test, the car will be inoperable until a successful breath sample is taken.
Using Your IID
Understanding how the device operates is only half the battle with utilizing an IID. This is because certain behaviors, although perfectly normal and legal, can cause a false alcohol reading within your IID. Although the devices are supposed to be calibrated to minimize this from happening, it still good practice to understand how you can minimize this error.
Some of these practices are:
- Not using hand sanitizer in the vehicle.
- Not using mouth wash/freshener right before testing.
- Do not unintentionally tamper with device, perhaps while doing other vehicle work.
- Be mindful of any medical issues (including some dental work).
- Having other very intoxicated people in the vehicle.
When the device reads a false positive from alcohol because one of these things, it is important to immediately remove the reason behind the possible reading and try again, or in general avoid these things while needing to operate the IID. If these false readings continue to occur, the operator should bring the IID to the service vendor for servicing. If failed results have been submitted to the DMV you should contact them or a criminal defense attorney such as Ruane Attorneys to assist you with the matter.
Issues can occur because the device, while intended to be very accurate, does not have the ability to determine where the alcohol potency is coming from. As a result, the IID sometimes thinks that the alcohol is on your breath from drinking and this just might not be accurate. Remember, items like mouthwash and hand sanitizer are very strong in alcohol content and if the IID picks this up it will think it is because you have been drinking.
Servicing the IID
Having the device in your car is not enough to satisfy the requirement imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles. You are also responsible for having the device calibrated every 30 days. The operator is responsible for any fees associated with this. Depending on if the device is purchased or leased, these fees may be part of the leasing fee or purchase price. Check with your vendor on these fees when getting price quotes.
These calibrations are NOT optional. They are required by the state. When the device is calibrated, the facility calibrating it notifies the DMV that it has done so. Failure for this process to occur will result in a new license suspension.
Whether you have questions about the underlying DUI charge, or how to navigate the process of getting an IID and maintaining it, Ruane Attorneys is here to help. Give our office a call for a free consultation regarding your DUI case or to discuss your IID.