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Ignition Interlock Devices

Our government never ceases to find new ways to punish those convicted of a DUI in Florida. Here’s one more example. The ignition interlock requires that a driver blow into a machine to get their car to start, basically the car will not start if a BAL is detected above a 0.05 (a judge can set this lower if desired). Also, the machine may require that the driver give a sample even while driving(!), but there is typically a three minute delay (annoying beeping) telling the driver to pull over and safely give a sample.

Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes continues this trend with the requirement that those convicted of DUI be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicles. This program started in July of 2002, but due to technological difficulties, it was not imposed by the courts often, until recently, that is….

Chances are, if an interlock device is required, so too comes some hefty insurance requirements. The Financial Responsibility Law requires proof of bodily injury and property damage liability insurance of 100/300/50 of anyone whose driver license is revoked or suspended for certain traffic convictions, i.e. DUI. Once you’ve purchased this insurance, have your insurance company file a Form FR-44 (Certification of Liability Insurance) with the DHSMV Bureau of Financial Responsibility (your insurance company will know how to do this…). If you do not own a vehicle, a non owner’s policy will meet this requirement.

Who’s Required to Have an Ignition Interlock?

Depends. First of all, a Judge may require an interlock of anyone convicted of DUI, but sometimes it’s mandatory.

For a first time DUI, a BAL greater than .15 requires a mandatory 6 months of interlock device. Also, if there’s a passenger under age 18 in the vehicle, it’s a mandatory 6 months interlock.

For a second time DUI, the interlock is mandatory for a minimum of 1 year, but if there’s a BAL greater than .15, the mandatory is for at least two years. Again, if there’s a passenger under age 18 in the vehicle, it’s a mandatory two years minimum interlock.

For a third time DUI, no matter what you blow for a BAL, it’s a mandatory minimum two year ignition interlock.

But the fun doesn’t stop there, even without a DUI conviction, it’s possible that the DHSMV may administratively require it at a hearing to obtain a hardship license, with the same conditions as listed above. Please, don’t take this sort of punishment lying down, call our criminal defense firm as soon as you can, because there’s just too much at stake to simply allow the government to impose all these punishments without allowing criminal attorney John Guidry help you fight it.

How Much Does an Ignition Interlock Cost?

It’s typically $70 for the installation of the device, plus a $100 refundable deposit (or you can waive the deposit and pay a $5/month insurance charge). The monthly fee is $67.50, that fee covers monthly monitoring and calibration. Here’s the kicker though, you must have an interlock on every car you drive! The exception is a company car, whereby the employer must provide written permission for the driver to operate the employer’s vehicle for job-related purposes without the required device. This letter of permission from the employer must remain in the vehicle at all times, and shown to law enforcement if stopped for a traffic violation.

Please note, before you get any ideas of driving without one of these things, know that your driver’s license will have a special marking, a “P” restriction, which brands you as one of lucky few that must blow into a machine to get your car moving.

What If I Can’t, Medically, Blow Into This Thing?

Lung capacity varies for each of us, yet these ignition interlock devices require quite a bit of air volume in order to operate properly. If a driver doesn’t blow enough into the device, the low air sample volume will trigger an “alert” for which the driver must, eventually, return to the installation company so that they may verify the problem–and possibly report it back to the DMV. Oddly enough, some of my clients have reported numerous “alerts” which then require that they return the vehicle to have it inspected, and that, of course, costs money.

Back in the day, those who have had the misfortune of having lung cancer, and thus portions of their lungs removed (for example), could still drive on a “medical waiver” because they are not physically capable of producing enough breath to make the machine work properly. Unfortunately, the law which took effect on July 1st, 2013, no longer permits citizens to drive on a “medical waiver” of the interlock requirement. Now, a medical waiver will–eventually–permit a driver to drive even though they are not physically able to comply with the interlock requirement, but the driver must wait for the entire interlock period to pass before being able to drive. This can be a one year wait, a two year wait. You may be asking yourself, “Why did the legislature decide to pick on disabled folks?” Well, why do bullies exit? Why can’t we all just get along? I don’t know. All the answers to life, unfortunately, cannot be found on the internet. I’m just saying.

Where Can I Get an Ignition Interlock Installed?

Depends on where you live. If you live in Orange, Seminole, Brevard, or Osceola County, the service provider is Interlock Systems of Florida (Alcohol Countermeasure Systems Corp., 866-837-8646). If you live in Volusia County or Lake County, the service provider is Interlock Group of Florida (LifeSafer Interlock, Inc, 800-728-7396).

Other People Drive My Car, Must Every Driver Blow Into the Interlock?

Yes, unfortunately every driver of the vehicle will be subjected to the interlock hassle. Believe it or not, we have the technology to send people to the moon, but not enough to figure out who’s driving the car. The interlock requirement does not always apply to commercial vehicles, there are ways around this requirement when driving an employer’s vehicle. For more information on these, and other, DUI arrest issues, call criminal attorney John Guidry today. It’s free, so why not?

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