Ignition Interlock Device for Breath Testing: Important Information from DUI Attorney Charles Holloway, P.A. Serving Clearwater, St Petersburg & Greater Tampa Bay

If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI in Clearwater, St Petersburg, Tampa, or anywhere else in the greater Tampa Bay, Florida area, you may be familiar with a breathalyzer or breath alcohol analyzer that can be attached to your car. This device is commonly called an ignition interlock device. Its purpose is to prevent the driver from driving while intoxicated, and as your DUI attorney may tell you, use of this device may result from a DUI conviction.

Ignition interlock devices are designed to test a person’s breath for alcohol, before and/or during the operation of a car, truck, or other motor vehicle. The device is usually installed in the dashboard area of the vehicle and is directly wired to the ignition. When the driver blows into the device, it analyzes the breath-alcohol level similar to the way a police intoxilyzer does. If the driver’s breath alcohol is over the statutory limit (.05%), the device will prevent the vehicle from starting.

There is more than one manufacturer and model of interlock device. Some models conduct a “rolling test” of the driver’s breath. This test occurs after the vehicle has been started and requires the driver to blow after a predetermined mileage or period of time has elapsed. This type of test is designed to prevent the driver from having another person blow into the machine to start the vehicle, and also to prevent the driver from consuming alcohol while operating the vehicle.

Interlock devices are essentially computers, with the capability of recording the date, time, and breath-alcohol level of each test. The devices are also able to download and/or print the results for later review by various agencies, including the DMV and probation. If a driver does not blow or blows over the statutory limit as he tries to start the vehicle, ignition will not occur. If a driver does not blow or blows over the limit while driving, the device will respond by honking the horn and/or flashing the headlights until the ignition is turned off. The vehicle will not be turned off and rendered inoperable while moving. In any event, all results will be recorded by the device for later review by authorities.

The companies that install interlock devices are required to perform monthly maintenance and record review. They are also required to report to the DMV:

(1) A driver who tries to start a vehicle while over the breath-alcohol limit

(2) A driver who fails to take a test when required

(3) A driver who tampers with or removes the device

(4) A driver who fails to appear at the company for the monthly review

The Law & the Interlock

An interlock device is required to be installed under the following conditions:

(1) 1st DUI Conviction:

(a) if the driver’s breath alcohol at arrest was .15% or higher
(b) if a passenger was under 18

(2) 2nd DUI Conviction (and more):

(a) all 2nd and subsequent DUI convictions (multiple offenders)

The devices are required to be installed for the following lengths of time:

(1) 1st DUI Conviction: up to 6 months

(2) 2nd DUI Conviction:

(a) for at least 12 months
(b) for at least 24 months if the breath-alcohol was .15% or higher, or a passenger was under 18

(3) 3rd DUI Conviction Within 10 Years: not less than 24 months

(4) 3rd DUI Conviction Beyond 10 Years: not less than 24 months

Note: The device must be installed on all vehicles in the driver’s name or in joint name with another person, at the time they qualify for a permanent or restricted license.

The installation of the interlock is generally not required as a condition of probation. Instead, it is a requirement of the DMV and must be satisfied in order to obtain reinstatement of a restricted license, hardship license, or full license. A driver could complete their probation without having the device installed. However, the driver would be unable to obtain a license until the requirement was satisfied.

It is against the law to do the following as regards the interlock device:

(1) Tamper with the device

(2) Have someone else blow into the device

(3) Blow into the device for the driver

(4) Lend a vehicle to a driver who has an interlock license restriction

These violations by the driver can result in the violation of their license restriction. They can be arrested and their vehicle can be impounded. A conviction may include probation, fines, and incarceration. In addition, the DMV will likely revoke your ability to drive.

Costs & Installation

The driver is required to pay for the installation and maintenance of the interlock device. The cost of installation is approximately $70.00 for most vehicle makes and models and the cost of monthly monitoring is also approximately $70.00. However, if the Court finds that the driver cannot afford these expenses, it can order a reduction in the fines to allow the driver to pay for the device.

Installation must be arranged by appointment. Contact for an appointment for Pinellas & Hillsborough Counties can be made by calling: (407) 207-3337.

Pinellas Location:
Interlock Systems of Florida
Live Oaks Center
9225 Ulmerton Road
Suite Q

Hillsborough Location:
Interlock Systems of Florida
56th Commerce Center
5434 56th Commerce Park Blvd.

For more information about ignition interlock devices and other matters relating to your DUI case, contact DUI attorney Chuck Holloway, P.A. for a free consultation. DUI attorney Holloway has an office in Clearwater to assist you.

Phone: (727) 446-8303
E-Mail: Info@PinellasDefense.com