What Are Ignition Interlock Devices?

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Oct 07

Lewis & Laws

What Are Ignition Interlock Devices?

by Lewis & Laws

What Are Ignition Interlock Devices?

Learn more about ignition interlock devices and the laws surrounding them in Washington State.

An ignition interlock device (IID) is a small breath-testing instrument attached to your car’s ignition system that you must blow into before you can start your vehicle. You will only be able to start your vehicle if your blood alcohol content (BAC) reading is under .025. If a BAC higher than that is detected, you won’t be able to start your car.

There is a chip in the device that records failed tests and tampering. These records may be forwarded to the courts, probation, or the Department of Licensing (DOL), which could lead to serious consequences, such as probation violation. There are multiple agencies throughout Seattle and the State of Washington that provide ignition interlock devices.

Washington State’s DUI laws recently changed, allowing municipal and district court judges to impose additional sanctions on individuals arrested for DUIs. These sanctions may include ordering offenders to install an IID in their cars. You must have an IID before you can reinstate your driver’s license after the following:

  • DUI conviction
  • Some reckless driving convictions
  • Some negligent driving convictions

An ignition interlock driver license (IIL) is a temporary driver’s license that allows you to drive vehicles that are equipped with an IID while your normal driver’s license is suspended or revoked. To be eligible for an IIL, you must meet the following criteria:

1. An arrest or conviction for any of the following:

  • DUI or Physical Control involving drugs or alcohol
  • Reckless driving
  • Vehicular assault involving drugs or alcohol
  • Vehicular homicide involving drugs or alcohol

2. You have a Washington address and unexpired Washington driver’s license

3. Your current license suspension or revocation doesn’t include Minor in Possession or Habitual Traffic Offender

According to Washington law, any driver convicted of a DUI must install an IID for a minimum of one year for a first DUI offense, a minimum of five years for a second offense, and at least 10 years for a third or subsequent offense. If you have an IIL, you must maintain an IID on all of the vehicles you drive, but not necessarily all of the vehicles you own. If you are required to operate an employer-owned vehicle during work hours, you can submit an IIL exemption so that your employer doesn’t have to install IIDs on their vehicles.  

How to Get an IID

To get an IID installed in your vehicle, you must visit an IID installer that is certified by the Washington State Patrol. The installer will submit proof of installation to the DOL. Once the requirement period is over, you can have the IID removed, as long as the DOL receives notice from the interlock company that you haven’t done any of the following in the previous four months:

  • Failed to take or pass any required retests
  • Tried to start the vehicle with a BAC of .04 or more
  • Failed to get scheduled maintenance, repairs, monitoring, calibration, inspection, or replacement of the IID

Once you meet these requirements and the DOL processes the four-month certification provided by the interlock company, you can have the device removed from your vehicle. If you remove the IID by yourself before the requirement period ends, your driving privileges will be suspended.

Avoid Getting an IID with the Help of a Seattle DUI Attorney

Having an IID can be humiliating, not to mention expensive. If you want to avoid getting an IID by having your DUI charge dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge, please call the Seattle DUI attorneys at Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws, PLLC at 206.209.0608 or fill out our online contact form for a free case review.



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