Ignition interlock device state laws & requirements

Ignition interlock state laws


All states share the same legal limit for driving at .08 percent but each state can decide its own laws which means they can differ substantially. All states have laws that allow ignition interlocks to be installed as an alternative or in addition to sentencing but the circumstances are different and not always mandatory. Often, the decision is left up to the judge/authority’s discretion.

Drunk driving laws differ from state to state. There are many factors that influence what happens after you’ve been convicted of a drunk driving offense including the severity of the offense and the number of previous offenses, if any, you’ve had. 


High Blood Alcohol Concentration

All states are consistent in their legal blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent. If you are driving with a BAC higher than that, you are breaking the law. States also agree that exceptionally high BAC percentages warrant greater punishment, but what that second threshold and the punishments are varies. The typical number is .15-.18 percent but there are a few states outliers that go as low as .10 and as high as .25. 


License Suspension

Most states will either completely or partially suspend the driver’s license after the first drunk driving conviction. The length of the suspension typically varies from three to six months with a few exceptions. If the license is completely suspended, many states will reinstate it on a limited basis after a certain period of time has passed or certain requirements, such as the installation of an ignition interlock, have been met. 


Ignition Interlocks

Ignition interlock laws exists in all states in one form or another. That could mean they’re required on the first and/or follow up offenses, mandatory based on certain other circumstances, or completely discretionary. Ignition interlocks have proven to be crucial in decreasing the number of repeat drunk driving convictions.


Vehicle Sanctions

While less common than other stipulations of conviction, some states may impound the driver’s vehicle, immobilize it or completely confiscate it.


Open Container

This federally mandated provision requires states to enact and enforce a law that prohibits the possession of or consumption of any open alcohol beverage container in a vehicle that is turned on and on public roadways. 


Repeat Offender

In most cases, certain minimum punishments of individuals that are convicted of a second or subsequent offense are in place. These minimums may include:

  • Suspension of driving privileges for not less than one year, “allowing for the reinstatement of limited driving privileges subject to restrictions and limited exemptions as established by state law, if an ignition interlock law is installed for not less than one year on each of the motor vehicles owned or operated, or both, by the individual.”
  • The impoundment or immobilization of the offender's vehicle or the imposition of an ignition interlock only after the one-year suspension period. Impoundment, immobilization or ignition interlocks must apply to every vehicle owned by the offender.
  • A mandatory alcohol assessment and any appropriate treatment.
  • A sentence of not less than five days of imprisonment or 30 days of community service for a 2nd offense and 10 days of imprisonment or 60 days of community service for a 3rd or subsequent offense.




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