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Not getting the interlock installed in my car, do I still have to do the requirements to get my license back?

Mankato, MN |

I was charged with my first DWI in June but I blew over twice the legal limit so I was charged with two DWI's and had my license suspended for 180 days OR would get it back if I got the interlock system installed in my car. My court date is set for the middle of September but I never got the interlock system installed in my car (because I can't afford it and I have a ride to and from work everyday). If I wait to get my licenses until December (the 180 days) will I be free of having to get the interlock system in my car or will I need to do anything to make sure I can drive again?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Commencing July 1, 2011, the State of Minnesota instituted an Alcohol Interlock program. First-time DWI offenders with a 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level that choose not to use ignition interlock will not have driving privileges for one (1) year . First-time offenders with a BAC of 0.16 or above an have the option of participating in the state's Ignition Interlock Device Program. If you do not use the Interlock program, you will have no license for a one year period (not six months). Interlock users will regain full driving privileges immediately for the entire period of 1 year if he or she agrees to participate in the interlock program. Of course, there is a cost to install the interlock device, a monthly fee to pay for the interlock device ,and a first time violator will have their revocation period extended for 180 days for any violation of the interlock program. They may also may be charged with a criminal misdemeanor.

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  2. Yes. The Interlock machine is an alternative intended to help both protect the public and get people driving sooner again, but at a cost. A driver in Minnesota can normally get licensed again by meeting each and every condition set by the Minnesota Depart of Public Safety - Driver Evaluation. The passage of time (such as 180 days) is only one of several conditions, which include payment of a hefty "reinstatement fee" as well as other conditions. Contact them to be sure you understand each and every condition for reinstatement of the license. If you meet them all before the time period expires, then you should get licensed upon expiration of the revocation period. Waiting for the passage fo time, alone, is not enough.

  3. I'm guessing that you think your license revocation period is for 180 days because the arresting officer may have filled out an old license revocation form that isn't up to date with current law. A first time offender who tests at 0.16 or more will be revoked for a one-year period. There is no option to apply for a limited license or work permit during that year. The driver has two options: (1) wait until the year is over and then pay the $680 reinstatement fee, take the written DWI test, and apply for a new license; OR (2) enroll in the ignition interlock program by following the procedures outlined at It sounds like you have transportation taken care of, so most likely the first option makes more sense for you. You should also be aware that you're probably subject to a license plate impoundment, which requires you to install special series ("whiskey") plates for one year on the vehicle you drove during the offense and any other vehicle with your name on the title. Even if you aren't the one driving the vehicle, those plates are required if your name is on the title or if it was the vehicle used for the offense. If anyone drives a vehicle that is supposed to have those plates on them without getting those plates, they could be charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense and have the vehicle towed. Just an extra piece of information for you if your ride is using a vehicle with your name on the title or the vehicle you drove when you were arrested.

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