What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

A Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device, commonly referred to as an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is a computerized device attached to a vehicle which requires the operator to blow into it and establish that they do not have too much alcohol in their system. It is similar to a Preliminary Breath Test except that the IID is electronic and connected to the car’s ignition so that if someone tries to start the car and they have more than .025 blood alcohol content, the car will not start. Of course, for anyone on probation for a drinking and driving offense, any amount of alcohol in their system is too much, as this would be a violation of the typical terms of probation.

When is Such a Device Required to be Attached to a Car?

Ignition Interlock Devices are required to be added to a car if the owner or lessee of the car has 2 or more drunk (or drugged) driving convictions within 7 years, or 3 within 10 years. Some may wonder how the IID can be effective, as a friend or anyone else can blow into the machine and the drinking person will be able to drive. Not so. As of 2016, a camera must be attached to the IID so that it can be determined if someone is trying to trick the machine. Some may also wonder why not blow into the IID, start the car, then start drinking. Again, the law has anticipated such a maneuver, as the IID can prompt the driver to blow into the IID at any time while the car is running or being driven (known as a “rolling retest”). Basically, if you can think of a way to trick the IID, you can assume the law has already thought of that trick too.

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If the IID detects 3 failures at the attempted start-up of the vehicle, or 1 “rolling retest” failure while the car is being driven, or if there is any indication of tampering with the IID, the vehicle must be immediately turned in to a State of Michigan authorized IID service center. It the vehicle is not turned in, the IID will “turn off” the vehicle and it will not be able to be started again until the vehicle and IID are examined. Of course, if test failures or tampering are established, there are consequences, such as an extension of the license suspension or revocation (3 months to 1 year), court fines and costs, and potential jail time, as the person failing or tampering has violated a court order. The IID service centers are required to report any violations (tampering, failures) to the Secretary of State in order to maintain their service center license.

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How Long Must an IID be Attached to a Car?

The IID will be attached to a car for at least 1 full year after the date the DLAD grants you a restricted license. Driving a car, even sober, is not a right, and is legally defined as a privilege granted by the state. You can drive because you have been granted the privilege to do so. That is why your card is called a “license,” not an “identification card,” and that is why no one has the same driver license number. It should go without saying that driving with an IID attached is even more of a privilege because you have already abused your original privilege to drive by driving impaired. The long length of time required to keep the IID installed is due to the fact that the state wants to make sure the person convicted of intoxicated or drugged driving is controlled and monitored for a substantial period of time.

How Can a Top-Rated Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Getting the IID Removed?

People convicted of OWI or who’s license has been reinstated on a restricted basis by the Driver’s License Appeal Division can petition to have the IID removed after 1 year from the date the restricted license was granted, assuming they have not violated the terms of their driving restrictions. This can be complicated, and a highly experienced criminal defense lawyer should be retained to handle the petition. There are no court-appointed attorneys for this process. An attorney will assemble the required reports from the IID service center that the driver reports to, and submit them to the Secretary of State Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight along with a properly prepared request to remove the IID. If an Order Authorizing BAIID Removal is granted, you can take that Order to a Secretary of State branch office and regain full driving privileges, assuming all restrictions have expired.

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