First Time DUI Offenses and Ignition Interlock: What it Means for You

On September 1, 2012, Alabama's ignition interlock statute became effective, enhancing the State's range of penalties for those convicted of driving under the influence ("DUI"). In addition to the traditional penalties including fines, jail, and potential license suspension, the ignition interlock statute requires, and under certain circumstances gives the defendant the option, of installing "an ignition interlock device".

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

The Alabama Code defines an ignition interlock device as "a constant monitoring device that prevents a motor vehicle from being started at any time without first determining the equivalent blood alcohol level of the operator through the taking of a breath sample for testing." One can think of ignition interlock as a "blow to operate" system integrated into a vehicle's on-board computer preventing the vehicle from being operated if the device detects a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02% by weight or more. 

First-Time DUI Offenses and Ignition Interlock

The ignition interlock statute requires that a defendant who has been convicted for the first time of a DUI charge shall be subject to the ignition interlock requirement for a period of two (2) years if: (i) the defendant failed to consent to a breath test, (ii) a child under the age of fourteen (14) was a passenger in the automobile at the time of arrest, (iii) the defendant's conduct resulted in personal injury to a third party, or (iv) if the defendant's blood alcohol test result was 0.15% by weight or more. If the first-time offense would not otherwise trigger the ignition interlock requirement as set forth above, the defendant may choose to avoid the automatic ninety (90) day license suspension upon conviction by electing to install an approved ignition interlock device in the defendant's automobile for a period of six (6) months.

If you need further counsel regarding DUI or ignition interlock, feel free to contact Bryan Nichols