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How Ignition Interlock Devices Work

Are you wondering what an ignition interlock device is and how it functions? In recent years, lawmakers have implemented laws that require some drivers to install these devices in their vehicles. Our team at Melowski & Singh, LLC is here to explain how these devices work, who may be required to use them, and other pertinent information.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device, or IID, is a breath-testing machine that prevents a vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected on the driver's breath.

With the use of ignition interlock devices (IID) increasing every year, it is important to understand the science behind them. These devices are connected to your vehicle’s ignition system and require user interaction before starting the engine. They measure air from the breath sample to detect blood alcohol concentrations (BAC). It utilizes a fuel cell sensor that identifies ethanol levels in BAC and stops you from driving if the limit is exceeded.

Who is Required to Use an Ignition Interlock Device in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, all drivers that have in any way violated the state's OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) laws are required to use an ignition interlock device. This includes even first time offenders, but the length of time a driver is required to use one and other conditions of using it vary depending on the offense. For instance, this requirement for a first offense usually lasts for at least 12 months with the driver required to take their Ignition Interlock Device vehicle in for service regularly. In cases of subsequent offenses however, Wisconsin courts may require extended periods of use lasting up to 3 years or more.

Are Ignition Interlock Devices Reliable?

Unfortunately, this technology is not as reliable as some may believe. Studies have shown that IIDs can experience problems with accuracy and calibration due to heat changes and failure of the device itself. In some cases, individuals who test positive for driving under the influence may not have any alcohol in their system at all. This could be attributed to certain types of foods that contain natural sugars, which can cause a false positive result when tested by a breathalyzer. Natural body chemicals such as ketones and acetone - which often occur due to diets like Atkins - can also alter breathalyzer results and provide an incorrect reading of blood-alcohol concentration.

Additional Cons of Ignition Interlock Devices

Ignition interlock devices can be very inconvenient and costly. An IID prevents driving if the driver has been drinking and detects even small amounts of alcohol on the breath. Not only must these devices be installed by a professional (depending on your state regulations) at additional cost, the user must also pay for monthly maintenance fees which can become expensive over time. Even when sober, drivers must often wait about 15 minutes after blowing until their car will start.

How an Attorney Can Help You Avoid a Mandatory IID

Attorneys can be incredibly helpful in helping to avoid a mandatory ignition interlock device. For example, experienced attorneys know how the laws of each state apply to your specific case, and may be able to find a loophole or technicality that could potentially help your case. Additionally, lawyers could use scientific evidence or expert witnesses in favor of the client. Attorneys are also well-suited for negotiating agreements on behalf of their clients, potentially securing lesser penalties than a required ignition interlock device. Furthermore, when it comes to appealing any decision from court related to an ignition lock device requirement, attorneys will be extremely necessary in making sure that the appeal is well crafted and persuasive. Without an attorney's assistance, it may be difficult to avoid a mandatory ignition interlock device.

Wisconsin DUI Defense

At Melowski & Singh, LLC, we strive to provide personalized and aggressive legal representation. Our team consists of experienced trial lawyers who know how to build a solid defense strategy tailored to your specific case. Our attorneys will listen carefully to your concerns and help you navigate the complex process of understanding your rights and the legal system. Reach out today to set up an initial DUI case consultation: click here or call (920) 294-1414.