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Ignition Interlock Devices

In many states, including both Indiana and Kentucky, being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or operating while intoxicated (OWI) can result in the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, in addition to potential jail time and fines. However, in some situations, it may be possible to keep one’s license after a conviction by having an ignition interlock device installed on one’s vehicle. Both Indiana and Kentucky are states that sometimes utilize these devices as an alternative to suspending or revoking a person’s license.

What Are Ignition Interlock Devices?

An ignition interlock device (also commonly referred to as a breath alcohol ignition interlock device) is essentially a breathalyzer that connects to a person’s vehicle. Prior to starting the vehicle, a breath-alcohol concentration test must be performed and the ignition will start only if the estimated blood alcohol level is below the legal limit (or the specific limit imposed by the courts).

To prevent intoxicated drivers from having somebody pass the breathalyzer for them, many ignition interlock devices also require periodic testing while the vehicle is in motion. If the test is not passed, an alarm will be signaled until the ignition is turned off. Usually, this alarm is something that will draw attention to the car by police, such as a honking horn or flashing lights.

Use of Ignition Interlock Devices in Indiana and Kentucky

The first ignition interlock devices were developed in the late 1960s, but they did not become popular in this capacity until the ’80s and ’90s.

In the state of Indiana, as a condition for obtaining probationary driving privileges, the court may require a defendant to use only vehicles equipped with ignition interlock devices for a term established by the court.  Whether or not the courts offer this option is up to the sole discretion of the judge or court, and if for any reason an ignition interlock device is not offered, the convicted driver could face license suspension of anywhere from 90 days to two years. In some cases, an ignition interlock device may be allowed only after the offender serves an initial suspension period.

Kentucky’s laws regarding DUIs are a little more strict than Indiana’s, since you can have your license revoked after the first offense. Even once an offender’s suspension period has ended, the state may require ignition interlock devices to be installed and used from anywhere from six to 30 months. Still, ignition interlock devices are also used as a means of allowing convicted drivers to have their licenses reinstated sooner.

The required breath-alcohol level needed to pass the ignition interlock device’s test can also vary. In most states, .08 is the legal limit for driving. However, for a driver under the legal drinking age of 21, the court may order that the driver have no trace of alcohol in his or her system in order for the vehicle to be turned on. Furthermore, for repeat offenders, the required limit may be lower than .08.

In the state of Indiana, if you are required to get an ignition interlock device in order to reinstate your license, you’ll need to begin by determining your eligibility through the BMV. From there, you must pay all necessary fees, schedule the installation, and provide proof of the installation to the BMV directly.

Facing an OWI or DUI can have a seriously negative impact on your life, but by knowing your options, you may be able to prevent having your driving privileges completely revoked.  If you have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by discussing it with one of the criminal defense attorneys at Church, Langdon, Lopp, Banet Law. We have years of experience helping people, and we can help you. Based in New Albany, Indiana, we proudly serve communities throughout Kentucky and Indiana, including, but not limited to, Jefferson County, KY; Floyd County, IN; Clark County, IN; and Harrison County, Indiana. Contact us by calling (812) 725-8224 or by using our online form.

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