What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?
After a conviction for driving while intoxicated, a person may be required to use an ignition interlock device in order to be able to drive again. Essentially, the device is a small breathalyzer. Connected to the ignition system of the vehicle, it is a way to prevent a driver from starting a vehicle if their breath carries evidence of alcohol use. The device is a form of electronic monitoring.
The enactment of a Texas law requiring ignition interlock device use was advocated for by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The organization points to a decrease in Texas drunk driving fatalities as evidence of the success of the devices. It is essential that drivers do not drink and drive in order to keep everyone on Texas roads safe. Ignition interlock devices are a tool that can help. If you have questions about the devices and if they are the right choice for your situation, talk to an experienced Houston DWI lawyer.
Convictions and Ignition Interlock Devices
Depending on the situation and the severity of the charge, a court could require a driver to use an ignition interlock device. For example, with a DWI charge and conviction where the blood alcohol content was less than .15, the person may be able to choose between having an ignition interlock device installed or having their driver’s license suspended. The driver’s license suspension could last for a period between 90 days and 12 months. This type of choice would only be offered to an individual facing their first DWI conviction.
For individuals with a second offense, or for first-time offenders with a blood alcohol content over .15, a driver’s suspension will likely be necessary. Then, once a license is reinstated, an ignition interlock device will be installed. The device may be removed after a period of time, likely a year.
The Costs of Device Installation Varies
The cost of obtaining and maintaining an ignition interlock device varies. There is a license fee with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, but that is typically small. If you need to have a device installed, the state will provide you with a list of certified installers. Prices for installation can range from approximately $50 to $200. There are also fees for calibration and monitoring. Those fees are often around $50-$100 monthly.
Of course, every situation is unique. It is important to connect with a skilled Houston DWI lawyer when you have been charged with driving while intoxicated. Depending on your circumstances, an ignition interlock device could be part of a path forward. Others, when they have a choice, opt to have a suspended license.
Are you weighing your options after a DWI charge and are wondering if you will need to invest in an ignition interlock device? Our experienced legal team can defend you against criminal charges. We have the knowledge to protect you whether the alleged crime was minor or serious. Reach out to the legal team at Ayson Law Firm to understand your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation with a Houston criminal defense attorney today.