When people are convicted of an Arizona DUI involving alcohol in Arizona, one of the penalties that they will face is the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device breathalyzer in every vehicle that they drive.
How long people will be required to have these breathalyzer devices installed in their vehicles will depend on the degree of DUI, if it is a misdemeanor or felony, the number of past DUI convictions you have on your record within the past seven years, and your blood alcohol concentration at the time of your arrest.
Below are the Top 10 ignition interlock device frequently asked questions that we receive at the Shah Law Firm about ignition interlock devices.
1. How Much Does an Ignition Interlock Device Cost?
People who are ordered to install ignition interlock devices as a part of their DUI sentences are required to do so at their own cost. The costs include the installation cost as well as monthly lease payments, monthly service costs, and removal costs.
On average, there is an installation fee that can range up to $150 per vehicle and you can expect your monthly payments to range from $70 to $100. You do not purchase an ignition interlock device. Instead, these devices are leased for the duration of how long you are required to have them installed.
The price you might be charged will vary, depending on the provider and the following factors:
- Whether the judge orders additional features, including cameras, GPS, or real-time reporting
- The length of time you are required to have the ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle
If you cannot afford an ignition interlock device, talk to your provider to see if it offers any economic hardship assistance. You should also speak to your attorney for ideas about how to afford the costs of your device.
Remember that having an IID installed in your vehicle is a court order. If you fail to install it, you can get into more legal trouble. and risk losing the ability to operate a vehicle.
2. How Long Do I Have to Have an Interlock Device Installed?
How long you will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle depends on the number of convictions you have had in the last seven years and your BAC at the time of your arrest.
If you are convicted of driving under the influence as a first DUI offense with a BAC of 0.08%, you will have to have the device installed for 12 months. If your conviction was for an extreme DUI with a BAC ranging from 0.15 to 0.199% as a first offense, you will still be required to have the device installed in your vehicle for 12 months.
If you are convicted of a super extreme DUI with a BAC of 0.20% or higher as a first offense, you will be ordered to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for 18 months.
A second conviction for a regular DUI or an extreme DUI within seven years will result in an order to install an ignition interlock device for 12 months. A second conviction within seven years for a super-extreme DUI will also result in an order to install an ignition interlock device for 18 months.
If you are convicted of an aggravated DUI, which is a felony in Arizona, you will be ordered to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for 24 months.
You can be charged with an aggravated DUI if it is your third DUI within seven years, you are convicted of a DUI while your license was suspended, or you are convicted of a DUI with a minor under the age of 15 in your vehicle.
3. What if I Fail an Interlock Breath Test?
When you first get into your vehicle, you will have to blow into the tube before your vehicle will start. Ignition interlock devices do not allow vehicles to be turned on when a person has a BAC of 0.02% or higher.
If you fail an interlock test, an alert will be sent to the ignition interlock device provider. The provider will then report the failed test to the Arizona Department of Transportation MVD, which can extend the length of time that you will be required to have the device installed in your vehicle by a minimum of six months, and in some cases even potentially restart the mandatory length of time.
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4. What if the Device Malfunctions and Gives a False Reading?
Ignition interlock devices work similarly to the portable breath tests police use during traffic stops in how they measure the percentage of alcohol on your breath. However, portable breath tests and ignition interlock devices can both return false positives because of several different factors.
In the majority of cases, a false positive on an ignition interlock device will happen because of a substance in your mouth when you give a breath sample. Ignition interlock devices are calibrated to detect even the smallest amounts of alcohol samples in your exhaled breath.
If you have trace amounts of alcohol or another substance that can give a false reading, you could end up with a false-positive result on the test.
It is possible to get a false positive even when you have not ingested any alcohol. The following foods are known to occasionally cause false results on an ignition interlock device:
- Chewing gum
- Energy drinks
- Lip balm
- Vanilla extract
- Hot sauce
- Ripe fruit
- Yeast bread
Substances such as cold medicine and mouthwash might also contain small amounts of alcohol. If you have traces of these substances in your mouth when you blow into your ignition interlock device, the machine is not sophisticated enough to distinguish between these substances and alcoholic beverages.
Certain health conditions, including diabetes or acid reflux, can also cause false readings on an ignition interlock device. Similarly, if you follow a ketogenic diet, the ketones on your breath could cause you to receive a false positive.
If your device returns a false positive reading, you should do the following things:
- Drink cold water immediately.
- Rinse out your mouth to ensure you do not have any substances left in your mouth.
- Drink cold water again.
- Blow into the tube again to get a negative reading and cancel out the false positive.
If the device still returns a second false positive, go to a lab such as Quest Diagnostics or Lab Corp for a urine test. A urine test can check for the presence of ethyl glucuronide and ethyl sulfate, which are metabolites your liver produces when you drink alcohol and remain in your body for a few days.
Getting an immediate urine test can help you to show that you were not drinking and help you to defeat a false positive. However, you must do these things quickly.
5. What if I Want to Purchase a New Vehicle?
If you buy a new vehicle, you will have 72 hours to reinstall your ignition interlock device in your new vehicle after it is removed from your old vehicle. Once it is removed from your former vehicle, do not drive until it is installed in your new car.
It is against the law in Arizona to drive your new vehicle without having an ignition interlock device installed in it. This means that you should not test drive a new vehicle since it will not have an ignition interlock device installed.
You might take a friend with you to the car lot to test drive the vehicle for you while you ride as a passenger. Contact your provider to ask about how to swap the device from your old car to your new one.
6. Can I Drive a Company Car Without an Ignition Interlock Device?
Many people drive company vehicles as a part of their jobs to haul goods, transport passengers, make deliveries, or do other tasks. If you are required to drive a company vehicle as a part of your job, you might wonder whether you can drive it without an ignition interlock device installed in it. This can also be potentially damaging if you are charged with DUI with a CDL or commercial driver’s license.
Arizona used to have an employer exemption that allowed people to drive company vehicles while working on the job if their employers agreed in writing. However, the exemption was repealed by the legislature in 2013.
This means that you cannot drive a company vehicle without an ignition interlock device. Instead, you cannot drive any vehicle that does not have an ignition interlock device installed in it.
Because of this problem, many people who are convicted of DUIs in Arizona also lose their jobs because they can no longer drive their employers’ vehicles. If you are required to drive as a regular part of your job, you can ask your employer if you can pay for an ignition interlock device installed in the company vehicle. Some employers might agree with this.
In most cases, however, employers will not agree to install ignition interlock devices in their company vehicles. You should be prepared to have this discussion with your employer and potentially look for another job if you are in this situation.
7. What if I am an Independent Driver for a Company Such as Uber or Lyft?
If you are convicted of a DUI and work as a ride-share driver, you can expect to lose your ability to drive for the company. Both Uber and Lyft perform background checks on their drivers. If you have a DUI conviction within the past seven years, you will not pass the background check.
If you already are an Uber or Lyft driver, the companies run annual checks on their drivers. You will lose your privileges to use the app when they discover your DUI.
Even if you are between annual background checks, however, you must have an ignition interlock device installed in any vehicle you drive, including any vehicle you might use for Uber or Lyft.
8. What if it Is an Absolute Emergency, but I Consumed Alcohol?
You cannot drive a vehicle in Arizona when you are under the influence of alcohol. You also cannot borrow a vehicle from someone else that does not have an ignition interlock device installed. Under ARS 28-1464, people can only borrow vehicles from others that do not have ignition interlock devices installed when there is a substantial emergency.
However, doing so when you have been drinking is never okay. Instead, take a taxi or ride-share if you have an emergency and have been drinking alcohol.
9. What if I Smoked Marijuana?
Ignition interlock devices do not detect marijuana on your breath. However, you should avoid driving if you are impaired to the slightest degree by marijuana.
If you do, you could be charged with a new Marijuana DUI based on the levels of THC in your system.
10. How Can I Avoid Having to Install an Ignition Interlock Device?
Any DUI conviction in Arizona will result in an order to install an ignition interlock device in every vehicle that you drive. The only way to avoid having to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle is to have an aggressive DUI attorney work to get your charges reduced or even your DUI dismissed completely.
As soon as you are charged, you should talk to an experienced Phoenix DUI lawyer at the Shah Law Firm. We can review your case and help you to determine how best to defend against the charges against you. Call us today at (602) 560-7408.