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What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

By Andrew Mishlove on May 02, 2012


Also known as an IID, an ignition interlock device is a tool used to measure breath alcohol content. When installed in a vehicle, the user will not be able to drive a vehicle without passing the unit’s breath alcohol test.

When a driver starts the car, the IID will turn on, and the driver will need to breathe into a small device similar to a breathalyzer. If the driver passes the test, the vehicle will start. If the driver fails, the ignition interlock device will lock out, and a short-time suspension (a few minutes long) will occur prior to retesting. Every subsequent failed test after the first test will impose longer lockout times.

Depending on the type and severity of your sentence, some ignition interlock devices in Wisconsin integrate the use of “running retests.” As the driver is utilizing the vehicle, some IID’s require the individual to blow into the breathalyzer component every so often to dissuade those from bypassing the system. If the driver exceeds the breath alcohol level for driving, or avoids the test altogether while operating the vehicle, an auditory or visual warning system initiates and continues until the vehicle is shut off. The warning system could include horn honking, hazard and headlights flashing, etc.

Wisconsin DUI Laws Regarding an Ignition Interlock Device

Forty-seven states plus the District of Columbia allow the use of a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) for repeat DUI offenders. The state of Wisconsin DUI laws indicate that first-time offenders qualify for the ignition interlock device if sobriety tests indicate the individual has an alcohol concentration of .15 or higher.

In 2009, the Wisconsin Act 100 was passed to increase the penalties for DUI and OWI offenders. In this Act, the Wisconsin DUI laws require IIDs to be mandatory for offenders convicted of:

  • First OWI offense with .15 or higher alcohol concentration
  • Second and repeat OWI offenses
  • Refusals for sobriety testing
Wisconsin DUI laws require an ignition interlock device to be installed for a minimum of one year. The convicted individual is required to pay all costs and installation fees for the IID. Those who live well below the poverty level for Wisconsin may apply for a hardship waiver.

Under Wisconsin DUI Laws, Additional Penalties May Apply

Not only will those sentenced to use an ignition interlock device have to pay installation fees; they also may have to serve additional penalties such as alcohol counseling, court fees, jail time, and license suspension. Once convicted, privileges that were once common immediately begin to diminish depending on the severity of the crime.

Ignition Interlock Device Costs – A Sentence that Impacts Everyday Life

The Wisconsin Act 100 was passed to increase the sentencing for those who have multiple OWIs . Getting convicted with a DUI is a serious offense in Wisconsin and could have long lasting ramifications. As soon as you are charged with a drunk-driving charge, it is imperative you contact DUI attorney Andrew Mishlove. Dealing with an ignition interlock device on your vehicle can make even a simple run to the store a major inconvenience. Find out how our Law Office can help.

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