The Consequences of Ignition Interlock Device Violations

Driving while intoxicated (DWI), also referred to as DUI or driving under the influence, is a criminal offense in all states.

As such, a DWI conviction comes with several penalties, including jail time, hefty fines, driver’s license suspension, and ignition interlock device installation.

An IID is a device directly connected to the ignition, headlights, and horn of a DWI offender’s vehicle. It acts as a breathalyzer that requires a breath sample from drivers. With an IID, the only way DWI offenders can start the car is to pass that initial breath test.

If their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is found to be at or higher than a predetermined low limit, usually 0.02%, they fail the test, and the IID will prevent the car from starting.

With all 50 states and the District of Columbia implementing ignition interlock laws in one form or another, IID installation has become a common penalty for those convicted of a DWI offense, especially repeat offenders.

There are also rules that cover the use of ignition interlock devices. If the DWI offender violates any of these rules, there will be corresponding penalties.

List of Ignition Interlock Violations

States may vary when it comes to their ignition interlock laws, but all of them generally consider the following as IID violations:

Ignoring IID Installation Orders—When a court orders you to install an ignition interlock device in your car, and you fail to do so, you will likely face criminal misdemeanor charges for disobeying a court order.
Driving Someone Else’s Car With No IID—Even if you have installed an IID in your car, driving the car of a friend or a relative that doesn’t have an ignition interlock device installed still constitutes a violation of the rules.
Trying To Cheat The IID—Any attempt to cheat or trick your ignition interlock device, like getting a sober friend to blow into the device for you so you can start the car, is considered tampering with your IID, which is a major violation of IID rules.
Removing/Disabling The IID—Your IID provider will know that you have removed or disabled the device and will promptly report you to the state legal authority for not complying with your IID requirement.
Failing Multiple Breath Tests—Most IIDs are designed to allow drivers to try again after some time should they fail the initial breath test. However, the waiting period will increase with each breath test until the device locks you out for hours.
Failing or Ignoring Rolling Retests—All IIDs conduct what is known as rolling retests to ensure that the driver remains sober for the entire trip. Done at random intervals, all drivers under an IID program must perform and pass these rolling retests or face additional consequences.
Failure To Attend Scheduled Service Appointments—IIDs are supposed to be serviced every 30 days or so. Be ready for more penalties if you don’t bring your vehicle in for a recalibration as scheduled.

IID Violation Consequences & Penalties

DWI offenders who violate rules covering the use of ignition interlock devices are at risk of facing the following penalties:


Failing consecutive breath tests, failing or ignoring random rolling retests, and not showing up for scheduled recalibrations can lead to a lockout, which means you won’t be able to use your car for a certain period.

Lockouts can be temporary or permanent, depending on the severity of your violation. While temporary lockouts can last 15 minutes to a few hours, permanent lockouts can last for days. You may also have to get your car towed to the IID service center for a reset.

Heavy Fines

IID violators will be meted fines that may vary according to the state. The severity of their infringement will also be a factor.

It is common for DWI offenders caught driving without an IID installed in their car to be fined $1,000 to $5,000. Authorities may also impound your vehicle.
Asking someone else to provide the initial breath sample will also be fined approximately the same amount.

Extension of IID Order

In many states, ignition interlock violations like failing to install an IID in your car despite a court order will mean an extension of the IID requirement duration, typically for six months. It’s not unheard of for some violators to end up being penalized with a lifetime IID installation, though.

License Revocation

Those ordered to install an ignition interlock device in their car typically drive with restricted licenses. Should they violate the rules of their IID program, their restricted license will likely be revoked.

Jail Time

Whether or not a DWI offender will be sent behind bars after committing IID violations will depend on the judge handling the case and the severity of your infractions, but getting jail time is possible for IID violators.

Deal With IID Violations With The Help of A DWI Attorney

The consequences of violating the rules that cover ignition interlock devices are no joke. They can be costly and could ruin your job, career, or life.

With all the penalties you will potentially face for committing an IID violation, it would be in your best interest to toe the line when it comes to ignition interlock rules. There is no better way of avoiding the consequences that come with violating them.

However, if you’re being accused of an infraction when there is none, you can always choose to defend yourself. If you truly believe that you didn’t violate anything, then get the services of a DWI lawyer to help you sort everything out.

You can claim that you failed breath tests because the IID actually reported false positives, which is sometimes the case with breathalyzers. You can also raise doubts about the accuracy of the data the device provided to authorities.

A skilled and experienced DWI lawyer will have your back when you fight back against accusations of violating ignition interlock device rules. With his or her expertise in the field of DWI, you can expect the best possible defense.

About Lauren McDowell

Lauren McDowell is the Content Marketing Strategist for Interlock Install, a Phoenix-based company that performs the installations, service appointments, and removals for ADS Interlock. When not writing, she attends book clubs and enjoys reading stories to her kids.

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