What Happens if You Fail an Ignition Interlock Test?


A DUI charge comes with plenty of consequences, some more severe than others. Most DUI offenses carry penalties such as license suspension, fines, and potential jail time. Also, many states have started to require ignition interlock installation as part of the punishment, even for first-time DUI.

What Is An Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device is essentially a breathalyzer that is connected to your vehicle’s ignition. To start the vehicle, you must blow into the device. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is lower than the threshold, the vehicle will start. Otherwise, you cannot operate the vehicle.

IIDs can only be installed, calibrated, and removed by a certified technician. The owner of the vehicle is not allowed to tamper with the device once it is installed.

The price of IIDs tends to vary depending on the make, but the installation can cost you around $75 to $150. There is also a recurring fee of around $50 every time you bring in the vehicle for calibration.

What are IIDs Used for?

The court often mandates DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles to ensure that they do not drive under the influence again. The dangers of drunk driving are well-known, and IID installation has proven to be a valuable method for reducing recurrent DUI offenses and improving road safety.

In the state of California, most first-time offenders are court-ordered to install an IID on their vehicle for four to six months. If an injury occurred with the DUI, the IID requirement at least 12 months. On the other hand, repeat DUI offenders have to keep an IID on their vehicle for one to three years, depending on the circumstances surrounding their DUI charge.

What are Common Ignition Interlock Violations and their Consequences?

If you’ve been approved for a restricted driving program with an ignition interlock device (IID), there are several rules you have to abide by. Unfortunately, some people think they can outsmart their IIDs, which often leads to severe repercussions.

The following are common ignition interlock device violations in California and their likely consequences:

What Happens if You Fail an Interlock Test?

You need to keep your BAC below 0.02% to pass the initial breath test. If you fail a breathalyzer in your car, your vehicle will not turn on and you’ll have to wait sometime before you can take the test again.

Failing your breath tests multiple times will disqualify you from the program and you will lose your privilege to drive a vehicle for the remainder of your sentence. The same goes if you coerce someone else to blow into the device for you.

What Happens if You Fail a Rolling Interlock Test?

Your IID will require you to complete rolling retests as you drive. This is to ensure that you’re sober while on the road. You can violate a rolling retest if you refuse to take the test or you took the test and failed.

Rolling retest violations are recorded by your IID, and will trigger an alarm that will only stop if you turn off the vehicle or successfully complete the tests.

Misuse of Ignition Interlock Device

Failing an interlock test is not the only way to violate your IID. Removing, tampering, and bypassing the device are all considered violations and will be reported to the DMV. In such cases, the DMV will immediately terminate your driving privileges. Worse, you may have to serve up to six months of a jail sentence or be required to pay a fine of up to $5000.

Failure to Service Ignition Interlock Device

As per state’s ignition interlock program, your IID must be inspected and calibrated by a certified installer once every 60 days. If you fail to bring your device in for appropriate servicing, the DMV will pause your interlock program.

You will not be able to drive your vehicle until the interlock service provider notifies the DMV that service has been completed and your IID is functioning properly.

What Happens if you Drive Without an Ignition Interlock Device?

If you think you can avoid an Ignition Interlock Device violation by driving another vehicle without an IID, think again. Driving without an IID while in the program is one of the worst violations you can commit. This can be considered as driving without a license and could lead to criminal charges. The court may even decide to revoke your license.

The State of California takes road safety and IID use seriously. To avoid the consequences of Ignition Interlock Device violations, always follow the regulations and guidelines of your IID program.

If you have questions about your IID restriction or need help with an IID violation, contact an experienced Bakersfield DUI defense attorney in California to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

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