Does an OVI Conviction Mean That I’ll Need an Ignition Interlock Device?

A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol can have serious – and sometimes humiliating – consequences. For example, you may have had friends or family members with an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in their cars by court order. If you have an upcoming OVI case, you may be wondering what the likelihood is of the court ordering you to install an IID in your own car, and, if you do get one, how long you will have to keep it installed.

What an IID does

As the name suggests, an ignition interlock device connects to the ignition of your car. This device has a breathalyzer attached to it, which measures your blood alcohol content when you blow into it.

If you have an IID installed, you will have to breathe into the breathalyzer device each time you get into your car. If the device detects more than the legal limit of alcohol on your breath, it will not allow your car’s ignition to start – and it will notify the court of your failed attempt to drive.

When you will need one

Under some circumstances, if your driving privileges are revoked after conviction, the court has the discretion to grant you provisional driving privileges so that you can get to work and perform other essential functions.

These driving privileges often come with the requirement that you have an IID installed in every vehicle that you regularly drive. The court will decide how long you will have to keep the device installed before restoring your drivers’ license. You will likely have to pay for the IID device (or devices) yourself.

It’s important to note that tampering with an IID in your vehicle is a separate offense with serious consequences. The court could increase your suspension time considerably if it receives notice of attempts to tamper with or circumvent the device.

As inconvenient and embarrassing as it is to have an ignition interlock device, it is better to have one than to be unable to drive at all. With time, you will eventually be allowed to uninstall the device and get back to driving normally.