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Minnesota DWI/DUI License Revocation: Ignition Interlock

IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICES IN MINNESOTA DWI CASES

Some DWI offenders in Minnesota who have had their license suspended may be eligible for a limited license that allows them to drive under certain restrictions. One such restriction is the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on each vehicle the offender owns and operates on a regular basis. IIDs are commonly used penalties in drunken driving cases across the country. However, as Minnesota is one of the last states to enact legislation regarding this technology, it is not yet a required penalty as part of a DWI conviction.

An IID is a small handheld breath testing device that is installed into the steering column of a car. It requires an individual to provide a sober breath sample before starting the ignition. Random breath samples will also be required periodically while the car is in motion to prevent a sober friend from starting the vehicle. Failure to provide a sample, or if a sample over a certain BAC level (typically .03) is given, an alarm will sound to encourage the driver to pull over. The BAC reading will be stored and sent to the proper authorities. BAC results over the allowed limit will result in the revocation of the limited license. For safety reasons, the device will never immobilize the vehicle.

IID's are installed at designated ignition interlock service centers. The DUI offender is responsible for the cost of installation as well as the monthly payments that are required. Attempts to tamper or circumvent the IID will result in imposition of further penalties and revocation of the limited license.

Judges may allow a DUI defendant holding a limited license to use a car without an IID device that is owned by their employer and operated in the scope of employment. In such situations, judges typically require a letter, signed by the employer acknowledging that they have been informed of the IID requirment, to be kept in the car's vehicle at all times.

First Offense:

  • 1st Offense under .16 B.A.C. -->90 day revocation work permit after 15 days
  • OR
  • 1st Offense under .16 B.A.C.-->Immediate D.L. with installation of ignition interlock. (Interlock must remain in vehicle for 1 year)
  • 1st Offense .16 B.A.C. or over->1 year revocation without ignition interlock, Immediate D.L. with 1 year installation of ignition interlock.
  • 1st Offense Test Refusal-->1 year revocation with work permit after 15 days.
  • OR
  • 1st Offense Test Refusal-->Immediate D.L. with 1 year installation of ignition interlock.

Second Offense:

  • 2nd Offense under .16 B.A.C.-->1 year revocation without ignition interlock, Immediate D.L. with 1 year installation of ignition interlock.
  • 2nd Offense .16 B.A.C. or over->2 year revocation without ignition interlock, Immediate D.L. with 2 year installation of ignition interlock.

Third Offense:

  • 3rd Offense-->3 year revocation without ignition interlock. Immediate D.L. with 3 year installation of ignition interlock. Limited license for the first year of sobriety.

Fourth Offense:

  • 4th Offense -->4 year revocation without ignition interlock. Immediate D.L. with 2 year installation of ignition interlock. Limited License for the first year of sobriety.

Fifth or more Offense:

  • 5th or more Offense-->6 year revocation without ignition interlock. Limited License for the first year of sobriety.

For more information on ignition interlock devices and limited licenses, contact Brent S. Schafer at Schafer Law Firm, 612-940-0129.

Additional resources provided by the author

Minnesota Ignition Interlock Device Statute

171.305 IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE.

Subdivision 1.Definition.

"Ignition interlock device" or "device" means breath alcohol ignition equipment designed to prevent a motor vehicle's ignition from being started by a person whose alcohol concentration exceeds the calibrated setting on the device.

Subd. 2.

[ Expired]

Subd. 3.Performance standards.

The commissioner shall specify performance standards for ignition interlock devices, including standards relating to accuracy, safe operation of the vehicle, and degree of difficulty rendering the device inoperative. The interlock ignition device must be designed to operate from a 12-volt DC vehicle battery and be capable of locking a motor vehicle's ignition when a minimum alcohol concentration of 0.020 grams of ethyl alcohol per 210 liters of breath is introduced into the device. The device must also require a breath sample to determine alcohol concentration at variable time intervals ranging from five to 30 minutes while the engine is running. The device must also be capable of recording information for later review that includes the date and time of any use of the vehicle or any attempt to use the vehicle, including all times that the vehicle engine was started or stopped and the alcohol concentration of each breath sample provided.

Subd. 4.Certification.

The commissioner shall certify ignition interlock devices that meet the performance standards and may charge the manufacturer of the ignition interlock device a certification fee. A manufacturer who submits a device for certification must provide an application for certification on a form prescribed by the department.

Subd. 5.Issuance of limited license.

The commissioner may issue a limited license to a person whose driver's license has been canceled and denied due to an alcohol or controlled substance-related incident under section 171.04, subdivision 1, clause (10), under the following conditions:

(1) at least one-half of the person's required abstinence period has expired;

(2) the person has successfully completed chemical dependency treatment and is currently participating in a generally recognized support group based on ongoing abstinence; and

(3) the person agrees to drive only a motor vehicle equipped with a functioning and certified ignition interlock device.

Subd. 6.Monitoring.

The ignition interlock device must be monitored for proper use and accuracy by an entity approved by the commissioner.

Subd. 7.Payment.

The commissioner shall require that the person issued a limited license under subdivision 5 pay all costs associated with use of the device.

Subd. 8.Proof of installation.

A person approved for a limited license must provide proof of installation prior to issuance of the limited license.

Subd. 9.Misdemeanor.

(a) A person who knowingly lends, rents, or leases a motor vehicle that is not equipped with a functioning ignition interlock device to a person with a limited license issued under subdivision 5 is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(b) A person who tampers with, circumvents, or bypasses the ignition interlock device, or assists another to tamper with, circumvent, or bypass the device, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(c) The penalties of this subdivision do not apply if the action was taken for emergency purposes or for mechanical repair, and the person limited to the use of an ignition interlock device does not operate the motor vehicle while the device is disengaged.

Subd. 10.Cancellation of limited license.

The commissioner shall cancel a limited license issued under this section if the device registers a positive reading for use of alcohol or the person violates any conditions of the limited license.

Subd. 11.Program standards.

The program standards applicable to section 171.306 also apply to this section.

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