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How Can an Interlock Ignition Device Help If a DUI Causes a License Suspension in Texas?

Anyone who has a blood alcohol concentration result of .08 or more, or refuses to take a breath test due to a suspicion of drunk driving will lose their driving privileges.

Unless the driver wins an administrative hearing, the license will be suspended for 90 days. A vehicle operator can be found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol if:

  • The breath or blood test result is .08 or more
  • The breath or blood test result is .04 or more and the driver has a commercial driver’s license
  • The breath or blood test result is .02 and the driver is under 21 years of age
  • There are other indicators that the driver was driving while intoxicated

Convictions will also result in a loss of driving privileges.

First time offenders will have their Texas driving privileges suspended for 90 days to one year. The judge can also require that the driver use an ignition interlock device (IID) in lieu of part of the suspension period.

Subsequent offenders must place an IID device on every motor vehicle they own for one year or at least half of the driver’s suspension period. During the other half, the driver is not allowed to drive at all.

An IID device can also be ordered by a judge if a person is convicted of intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter.

Anyone convicted of a DUI will also be required to spend time in jail, pay a surcharge, expensive fines, and take an approved alcohol related education or intervention course.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

The IID locks the ignition unless the driver’s alcohol level is below a preset limit. An IID prevents a driver from starting his/her car until the driver’s alcohol content is measured.

The IID device works like a breathalyzer test. If the driver passes the test, then the ignition will start. Otherwise, the car won’t start and the driver will need to take the test again and pass the test to be able to drive.

The test works by having the driver give the device an initial breath sample. If the alcohol is spotted, the driver needs to wait a few minutes, after the first test, before he/she can try again. The lock-out periods are longer for subsequent failed tests.

The driver will likely also be required to take random retests while the car is operation. This is to prevent the driver from drinking while driving. It also is to make sure the driver took the initial test instead of having someone take it for him/her.

The interlock ignition device will beep while the car is moving. The driver will then need to supply another breath sample.

The IID device does not immediately stop the car or vehicle because that could create an accident. Rather, the IID device causes the vehicle’s lights to flash and the horn to blow which signals to the driver, other drivers, and to any nearby police that the driver needs to get off the road and stop driving.

The interlock ignition device keeps the results of the breath samples and sends them to the appropriate court agency that required the installation of the device – the local courthouse, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles or the court probation office. The data may go the agency immediately or at regular intervals.

The advantage of an IID device is that it lets the driver get to work, to school, or do other daily activities instead of lengthening the time the driver’s privileges are suspended. For this reason, both the community, the government, and even the defendants seem to appreciate the effectiveness of interlock ignition devices.

There are some exceptions that may apply. A judge may allow a driver to be exempt from using the interlock ignition device if the driver needs to use an employer’s car for work and the employer is made aware of the driver’s requirement and the need to use an IID device for other types of driving.

The driver must also pay for the cost of the interlock ignition device. The judge may waive the courts or allow a payment schedule to be established.

Contact an Experienced Texas DUI Lawyer Today

To speak with a strong DUI advocate and to learn more about how to drive with an IID device, please call  281-972-4386 to speak with Scott M. Brown & Associates today. We have offices in Angleton, Pearland, and League City.

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