LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Clifton C. Carden | May 11, 2013

I failed a start up sample on my Ignition Interlock Device. What happens now and what should I do?

I failed a start - up sample on my Ignition Interlock Device. What happens now and what should I do ?

An ignition interlock device failure could result in the court and prosecutor’s office being notified of the circumstances. In my opinion you should contact an attorney in regards to the following issues:

1. Were you obligated to have the ignition interlock device (IID) at the time of the failure?

I have seen defendants serve their sentence but due to busy schedules have a delay in getting the device removed from their vehicle thus the failure was beyond the time that the device was required. Or the defendant was under a mistaken belief that the device was still required. Therefore a driver should not rely upon the court or the prosecutor’s office to notify them that their sentence is complete. A driver that is subject to the IID should speak with an attorney so as to know exactly the length of their sentence and whether the device should be removed.

2. What should you know before speaking with the service technician about the failure?

Technicians are often called as witnesses because they have a working knowledge of the device, evidence of the failure is in their possession, and because the customer unwittingly made admissions of guilt while speaking with the technician. Proceeding through any violations of the ignition interlock device with the assistance of an attorney is highly recommended.

3. What evidence exists that the driver who is required to have the IID was actually the one who created the failure?

More than a “failure" is needed to justify a violation of your sentence. That is why advances in the IID have included models with video cameras, photo capability, and fingerprint recognition. An attorney can best analyze your situation after a detailed interview and assist you through your IID issues.

Tip on Using the IID

The simpliest method for avoiding an ingnition interlock "failure to start" or violation is to ensure you are not consuming alcohol beverages during the period by which the deivce is required. Even then be sure to wait at least 15 minutes after having anything in your mouth before you attempt to provide a breath sample with your ignition interlock device. This allows for the dissipation of residual mouth alcohol that may be present in perfectly legal liquids and avoids the potential for other materials to create a malfunction. It should be noted that the fuel cell located in the IID only registers a positive BAC reading if ethyl alcohol is present in the breath sample. Thus, a “failure" does not necessarily mean you have been drinking. Nonetheless, an ignition interlock device failure could result in the court and prosecutor’s office being notified of the circumstances. You have rights and are subject for additional punishment if you are violated on your sentence. Only an analysis of the device will be able to determine the reason for the failure and proceeding with the advice of an attorney is always a good start.

Answers by Clifton C. Carden III, Esq.

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