Ignition interlock devices have become a popular tool for the courts. There is some evidence that these devices prevent a person with a DUI conviction from repeating the offense. New Jersey is one of the states that have jumped on the ignition interlock device bandwagon in recent years. As of 2012, all 50 states have the ability to require the installation of an ignition interlock device for people with DUI convictions. So, we are going to examine what these devices do and the laws governing them.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

Surprisingly enough ignition interlock devices have been around since 1969. The second generation of IIDs has been around since the early 1990’s. The device remains pretty much identical to the early 90’s version.

An ignition interlock device (IID) is a small device about the same size as your cell phone. The device which is hidden in your glove box requires you to submit to a breath test in order to keep your car running. Also, the device uses a breathalyzer installed in a spot convenient for the driver.

The device requires the driver to submit a breath sample to start the car. Aso, after about 15 minutes the device requires another sample. Periodically, while the car is running a driver must submit more breath samples.

While the IID is connected to your ignition, it does not turn off your engine. This is a common misconception, but it would be dangerous to other drivers on the road. The device triggers an alarm, warns the driver, and reports the high test result to the proper authorities. You can keep driving your car, but you will receive new charges.

Who Has to Install an Ignition Interlock Device?

New Jersey does not require an IID installation for first-time DUI offenders with a BAC under .15%. However, the judge can require the defendant to install a device in these cases. For anyone whose BAC was over .15% IID installation is mandatory even if it is only their first offense.  The length of the sentence can vary from six months to one-year depending on the circumstances of the case.

Subsequent offenses require the installation of ignition interlock device. For a second time offender, the length of the punishment is between one and three years.

Installation of an IID can only occur after the license suspension period is over. Upon completion of your license suspension, you can have a device installed in your car. Only then will you be able to start driving again if there is a court order for IID installation.

The Cost of an Ignition Interlock Device

A DUI is very costly. When you factor in attorney’s fees, court costs, fines, and increases to insurance premiums the total can reach $5,000 for your first offense. Now add to that the cost of an IID. An IID can cost up to $1,000 a year. By doing some simple math, the total could approach $3,000 for a three-year installation requirement.

The financial responsibility of the installation of the devices falls on the person with the DUI conviction. However, the costs don’t end with installation. The device has to receive servicing as well as calibration monthly.

The state does not regulate what a company can charge for an ignition interlock device. Therefore, the price fluctuates depending on the company you chose.

The other issue you should consider is that if you are driving your parent’s car, you will have to install the device in their automobile. This can cause some friction in your relationship. Therefore, you may want to think twice before drinking and driving, especially in someone else’s vehicle.

Avoiding an Ignition Interlock Device

New Jersey does not offer plea deals when it comes to DUI cases. So, the only way to avoid a mandatory IID installation is to win your case. To win your case, you are going to need to retain the services of an experienced DUI attorney.

Douglas Herring is one of New Jersey’s most well know DUI attorneys. With years of experience dealing solely with DUIs, he can help you determine the best way to move forward. Attorney Herring can help you formulate a defense that will help you to avoid some of the terrible consequences of a DUI. If you are currently dealing with a DUI case, contact Douglas Herring today for a consultation. Whether it is your first or fifth DUI, Attorney Herring can help.