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What is an ignition interlock device?

Being accused of drinking and driving is a serious matter. An individual facing such allegations could suffer damage to the person’s reputation, lose the person’s job and be subjected to license suspension or revocation. In some instances, an individual who is convicted of drunk driving could face fines and jail time. However, a person accused of drinking and driving may be subjected to another type of penalty — an ignition interlock device.

An ignition interlock device is a piece of equipment that is installed in a vehicle, disabling it until its driver blows into it and the machine registers that the driver has a blood-alcohol level of less than .025 percent. In Michigan, these devices must be installed if an individual is labeled as a habitual offender, meaning the person has been convicted of a drunk driving charge two or more times in a seven year span or three or more times of the course of 10 years.

An individual who is forced to install an ignition interlock device must keep it for at least one year. However, if the machine registers a failed test or several failed tests, then the implementation period may be significantly extended. The same may be true if there is evidence that the device has been tampered with by the convicted individual.

In addition to restricting driving privileges, the cost of ignition interlock device installation can be significant. The state does not regulate pricing, so the costs may be high, further throwing an individual into financial disarray.

The penalties for a drunk driving conviction are harsh. Failing to adequately defend against drunk driving allegations could lead to long-term consequences from which it may be difficult to recover. Therefore, those who find themselves up against criminal allegations may want to consider speaking with a legal professional who can guide them through the process and help protect their legal rights.

Source: Michigan Department of State, “Alcohol Related Driving Offenses Require Ignition Interlock,” accessed on Jan. 10, 2015

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