Among the penalties handed down for OWI charges in Wisconsin, Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) provide a preventive solution to drivers convicted of an OWI with a particularly high BAC level, or those who’ve been caught driving drunk repeatedly.
As the technology behind the devices becomes both cheaper and more efficient, these devices are increasingly being used as a measure to curb the potentially disastrous effects of OWI before they occur.
Since 2010, Wisconsin, among other states has passed legislation making these devices mandatory for individuals convicted of OWI under certain circumstances.
Whether you’ve been issued this device or not, all drivers should be aware of what these devices do, and under what circumstances you can be forced to install one into your own vehicle.
1. What is an Ignition Interlock Device?
To prevent inebriated individuals from operating their vehicle, an IID is installed into the driver’s dashboard. Much like a breathalyzer used by law enforcement officers, the driver must exhale into a mouthpiece before starting the engine.
The IID analyzes the BAC level of the breath sample and allows the operator to turn on the engine if the breath sample registers below the programmed BAC threshold. In the case that the operator gives a sample above the threshold, the ignition remains barred from use and the vehicle remains unusable.
Today’s IIDs also ensure that drivers do not start drinking once they’ve activated their vehicles by requiring additional breath samples while the vehicle is in use. If a sample isn’t provided, or the IID detects an unacceptable BAC level, the machine records the event, warns the driver that they are not permitted to drive, and then initiates an alarm until the car is shut off.
2. Who is subject to IID installation?
With legislation passed in 2010, the law states that an IID must be installed for anyone found guilty of a second OWI offense or greater. In addition, those who register a BAC of .15 or higher on their first offense are also subject to a mandatory IID installation. The length of time you’re required to use the device almost always coincides with the length of your suspension.
It’s also important to note that once you’re given the requirement to install an IID, it includes every vehicle owned by or registered to the offender.
3. How long will I need to have the device installed?
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, IIDs must be ordered for a minimum of one year. As stated before, each case will depend on the specific suspension you are given, and this restriction begins immediately. For those receiving an operating privilege, the period begins either when your operating privilege is reinstated, or you are issued an occupational license.
If for any reason you fail to install the device, remove it, disconnect it, or circumvent it, you’ll face a six-month extension.
4. Costs and installation of Ignition Interlock Devices
When it comes to purchasing and installing IIDs, the responsibility for ignition interlock installation and ignition interlock cost rests solely on the driver. Research local service centers in your area certified to carry out IID installation and maintenance. Typically, costs run between $1,200-$1,400 per year for one vehicle.
If you’re in need of a criminal defense attorney with years of experience with OWI-related cases in Wisconsin, contact Attorney Patrick Stangl today.