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Understanding Idaho’s ignition interlock program

People in Idaho facing a DUI charge should have an understanding of the state’s ignition interlock device program.

There are a number of consequences associated with drunk driving in Idaho. Someone convicted on such charges could face jail time and fines in addition to losing his or her driver's license and privileges.

It is also possible that the driver will have to install an ignition interlock device on his or her vehicle. Anyone who is facing DUI charges should understand the state's policies regarding these devices.

What is an ignition interlock device?

Essentially, an ignition interlock device, or IID, is a tool that acts as a breath test on an individual's vehicle. It is hooked up to the car's starter and requires the driver to blow into the device, registering less than 0.025 breath alcohol concentration before permitting the vehicle to operate. If the device senses alcohol, the car will not start.

Who must install one?

There are several groups of people who will face mandatory IID installation following a DUI conviction. Under the law, those people include the following:

  • Anyone younger than 21 who has a second or subsequent DUI offence
  • Anyone who had a second or subsequent offense with a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.20
  • Anyone who has had two or more DUI convictions in 10 years

The device will be installed following the mandatory license suspension period. Therefore, the driver will only be able to operate a vehicle again after the probationary period if he or she has an IID.

How long will the use of an IID be necessary?

Idaho laws state that in many cases, an IID will be necessary for no less than one year. It may be up to a judge's discretion as to how long the driver will have to keep the device on the vehicle, however, the time period cannot exceed the probationary time period.

Who is responsible for installing the device?

The law dictates that the IID must be approved by the Idaho Department of Transportation, which provides a list of companies that can install it. Further, the driver may be responsible for paying all the fees associated with this process. The IID must be placed on any vehicle that the driver owns or operates, including work vehicles.

Are there penalties for failing a test?

A trial court administrator or other official will receive a report from the IID that can reflect a failed test or tampering. Doing so can extend the amount of time someone must use the device or result in other sanctions associated with a probation violation.

Anyone who has questions about this topic should speak with a criminal defense attorney in Idaho.

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