The Motor Vehicle Division

Cases before the Motor Vehicle Division or similar entity are typically administrative proceedings. They are not as formal as criminal cases. An administrative law judge may decide the case after a hearing requested by the defendant. The judge is responsible for determining whether the license should remain suspended or not.

Some states automatically suspend a driver’s license upon a DUI arrest. However, this suspension may be stayed if a request for a hearing is made within the appropriate amount of time. Ordinarily, there is a very limited amount of time to request a hearing in front of the appropriate administrative agency, typically within 10 to 15 days, depending on state law. Other states allow the suspension to stay in place until the decision regarding the suspension is made.

Implied Consent Laws

Many states have implied consent laws that require a person to consent to a chemical, breath or field sobriety test if he or she is pulled over for suspicion of DUI or upon arrest as a condition of receiving a driver’s license, depending on the state’s specific laws.

Process of Motor Vehicle Division Cases

After the hearing is requested, a date is set. The defendant can retain the services of a DUI lawyer to represent his or her interests at the case. The hearing usually starts out with the arresting officer providing testimony about the reasons for the stop, what tests were conducted, the results of the test and which procedures were followed. After this testimony, the defendant’s lawyer may cross-examine the witness. During this time, the officer may make statements that call his or her credibility or the test results into question. In other instances, the officer may make conflicting testimony during this hearing that may be used later to negotiate a plea bargain or dismissal for the criminal charges.

The DUI lawyer can also challenge evidence, raise legal arguments, subpoena witnesses and take other steps to help protect the defendant’s driving privileges. After the hearing concludes, the administrative law judge issues a decision in which he or she upholds the suspension or lifts it.

Issues in Administrative Cases

Administrative cases involving license suspensions due to DUI may involve many legal issues, beginning from the start of the encounter until well after arrest. The first issue may be whether the officer who initiated the traffic stop had reasonable suspicion that the driver was driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Additionally, the rules regarding implied consent may be taken into consideration, such as whether the driver is subject to an automatic suspension for refusing a test required by law. The agency may consider whether the defendant refused a test and if he or she was made aware of the consequences for refusal.

The administrative agency may also inquire into the tests that were administered and how these tests were administered. The agency may also assess whether the defendant was placed under arrest due to a DUI charge. Of particular importance is whether the officer initiated a test that showed a BAC over the legal limit, usually 0.08 percent or more. If the arrest was on a commercial driver who was driving a commercial vehicle at the time of arrest, the relevant level is 0.04 percent. In zero tolerance states in which someone under 21 is pulled over, a reading of 0.02 or 0.01 can be over the legal limit, depending on state law. The agency may consider whether the testing method was valid and can be relied on. Additionally, it may also consider whether the determination of test results was evaluated.

Legal Assistance

Losing an administrative hearing can result in significant consequences. Losing this hearing may result in the loss of driving privileges for many months or even years. In some instances, a person may not be eligible to receive a hardship license that may otherwise permit driving to work, school or the doctor. With such significant risks on the line, many individuals who are confronting administrative hearings may hire a DUI lawyer to represent their interests in hearings of this nature. He or she can explain the benefits of requesting a hearing of this nature.

Experienced criminal defense lawyer

DUI violations tend to have swift arrests based on the observations of the law enforcement officer that pulls the driver over. These observations are usually based on the behavior of the driver, how he or she performs the field sobriety tests and if he or she allows the portable breath tests. The officer is usually stationed at a lawful sobriety checkpoint or checking passing vehicles in routine stops based on speed or other observable actions. If the driver has bloodshot eyes, slurs his or her words or appears inebriated, all of these lead to the officer to either perform other tests or arrest the individual immediately.

When the officer is still unsure if the person operating the vehicle is intoxicated, he or she usually administers numerous varied field sobriety tests to determine if his or her initial suspicions were correct. If failure of the tests occurs, the officer may arrest the individual or administer a portable breath test. This preliminary alcohol screening tests the blood alcohol content to determine if it is over the legal limit of .08 percent.

Why a Stop Would be Unlawful

Once the driver has been arrested, he or she may run through the previous actions to understand where the event turned against his or her favor. What actions led to an arrest and suspicion the driver was intoxicated when no alcohol was consumed. After the arrest and Miranda Rights are read, the accused individual may obtain a criminal defense lawyer. It is at this point the hired lawyer may explain how the stop was illegal.

When a person is operating a vehicle, it is the behavior he or she exhibits during the drive that often tips off an officer that the driver is intoxicated. This leads the officer to perform subsequent tests. However, when no suspicion is available, the law enforcement agent should not be stopping drivers. Reasonable suspicion is absent in these instances, and no observable behavior is present. The driver may have crossed lanes once or twice to pass or to turn, but not swerving occurred. No sudden or immediate increase or decrease in speed occurred. This in turns removes any possible suspicion of intoxication. Without any type of probable cause, the officer is not legally permitted to pull the driver over.

Late Night Driving

Many individuals drive late or overnight for numerous reasons. When vehicle operators drive long distance at night, some law enforcement officers stop them because it is late at night instead of any possible intoxicating behavior. Even when some of these instances lead to drivers that have consumed alcohol, these are considered illegal stops. The officers pulled the driver over on the bias of him or her being a late-night driver.

Observed Behavior

Law enforcement officers often park near or by a bar, nightclub or related business. In order for the officer to legally pull over any leaving drivers or make an arrest, there must be suspicion the person has been drinking enough for his or her BAC to surpass the legal limit. Actions may be those going to the vehicle or once the person has started driving. When someone is inebriated, his or her driving is usually affected immediately. This shows nearby law enforcement agents that he or she should not be driving and an arrest is usually completed quickly.

Holidays, weekends, late nights and drinking establishments often draw police officers to observe those leaving. The behavior they observe from those leaving these areas or during these days often give probable cause through suspicion. DUI violations are usually discovered among these individuals in many instances. This allows a reason for pulling them over and when proved to the officer, the driver may be arrested for DUI offenses.

Obligations of Sobriety Checkpoints

To ensure no violations arise, law enforcement must plan out sobriety checkpoints with an approved list of guidelines affecting how the entire procedure is performed and implemented. The guidelines often include how law enforcement may search vehicles, when the checkpoints are initiated, how many vehicles are checked or how many vehicles are skipped and other related stipulations

When creating a checkpoint, the backing of local and city government assists in the success of these methods. A successful sobriety checkpoint may be one of many or a routine to ensure less harm befalls those driving on the roads, highways and freeways of the city or state. These procedures best work when they are part of a program to eliminate DUI violations. This ensures a plan is always in place as well as standard procedures are implemented in checkpoint operations. Smoother arrests may be completed and completion of checkpoints may be concluded with minimal issues.

Constitutionally Permissible Checkpoints

Through the Fourth Amendment, the United States Constitution protects American citizens from unlawful and illegal searches by law enforcement as well as seizure of property. However, checkpoints are permitted and not considered a violation of the Fourth Amendment due to stipulations the United States Supreme Court deliberated. Additionally, state supreme courts allow these per state when certain conditions are met. This ensures that under state and federal laws no violations take place against American people.

When a state has an interest in eliminating or reducing drunk driving, it works better to add checkpoints to this program of stamping out intoxication on the road. These programs are often the reason courts allow checkpoints as a valid method for law enforcement. Some courts balance the interest of the state in preventing collisions through intoxicated drivers against the effectiveness of these sobriety checkpoints in assisting in reducing or eliminating the threat these drivers cause. Other factors such as the level of intrusion these methods cause against a person’s privacy through the checkpoints and how the processes run are considered.

Why Checkpoints are Opposed

The importance of personal privacy and the right to keep searches and seizures to a minimum through warrants is a concern when involving checkpoints. Various parts of state government have voiced apprehension that these methods may eventually allow law enforcement to overstep its bounds. The worry is that privacy is intruded and searches are performed that lead to arrests when they normally would not, seizure of property occurs when the items would not have been taken under normal circumstances and many false arrests may have transpired through these actions.

While the concerns may be valid, these checkpoints are created through a plan with very rigid guidelines set forth by both federal and state governments. When these stipulations are not followed, the checkpoint arrests are invalidated and may be reversed. The announcement of a checkpoint prior to its implementation allows drivers to select an alternate route or remain home or elsewhere until the processes are completed. Additionally, not all vehicles are checked. All of these guidelines and stipulations often cover all concerns of intrusion of a person’s privacy as well as unlawful seizure of property.

Consult with a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a crime, it’s important not to automatically plead guilty in order to take what some feel is the easiest route. While you naturally want to avoid a trial when possible, you may still face jail or prison time if you agree to a plea deal, although the sentence will probably be much lighter than it would be if you were found guilty at trial. However, why spend any time at all behind bars or face other punishment if it can be avoided? Never let prosecutors talk you into a plea deal before consulting with a criminal defense lawyer – this is exactly what they want you to do.
Police want to interview you. Although it may be to ask you questions regarding your knowledge of someone else’s involvement in a crime, it is never recommended that you speak with police without first consulting with a defense lawyer. In fact, most will advise you not to answer police questions at all. It is much easier than you might think to say something that incriminates you, and police often put intense pressure on those they’re questioning to get them to admit to something they may not have even done. If the police want to question you, talk with a defense lawyer before you do anything else.

Going to trial is an option you are considering. This is especially true for those who are innocent of the charges against them, as no one wants to plead guilty to something they had no part in. Not only could it result in loss of freedom and a criminal record, your reputation could be ruined forever. In some cases it’s best to go to trial, such as when the prosecutor has insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A skilled criminal defense attorney will consider the evidence (or lack thereof), weigh the strengths and weaknesses, and provide you guidance about how to best proceed – whether to proceed to trial, or accept a plea bargain. Additionally, if you do go to trial it is vital to have a capable defense lawyer who will fight vigorously in court to secure the outcome you desire.

Your constitutional rights have been violated. Perhaps you were not given your Miranda warning, or a search was performed without the necessary warrant. There are many situations in which a person’s constitutional rights may be violated, which could result in evidence not being allowed in court. When this is the case, the prosecutor often lacks the necessary evidence to secure a conviction and may drop charges.

Anytime you have doubts, feel you are a suspect, or are of interest to police, do not hesitate to consult with a reputable criminal defense lawyer.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elizabeth Tuomey
Elizabeth Tuomey has been practicing criminal law for more than a decade in Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia. Graduating from Georgetown University Law Center with a Juris Doctor degree in 2002, Ms. Tuomey focuses on representing clients in drug, DUI, burglary, robbery, assault, forgery, and other criminal cases.

Checkpoints that check sobriety

Sobriety checkpoints often help support many convictions when certain circumstances transpire. It is important to know what rights are afforded to those that are arrested during these procedures.

Sobriety Checkpoint Basics

Checkpoints are placed at strategic areas to check drivers for possible intoxication. Though not all drivers may be checked, the procedures should be the same. This may include searches of the inside or outside of the vehicle, depending on state law. When searches are not employed properly, charges of DUI violations may be invalid or reversed. With certain stipulations present in the plan and implementation of the sobriety checkpoints, the United States Supreme Court has deemed these procedures constitutional. It is up to each state to determine if the checkpoint is more of a roadblock or a valid action law enforcement is permitted to complete. When not considered a violation of the Fourth Amendment, each state may allow police officers to conduct checkpoints with approved plans in place.

Declaration of Valid Checkpoints

In 1990, the United States Supreme Court deliberated upon the checkpoint issue and whether it is considered a violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Court deemed these processes valid and not a violation as long as certain guidelines are in place.

Checkpoints must be a minimal intrusion with specific plans in place that specify how searches are conducted, what parts of the vehicle are searched, how many vehicles are checked and what to do when an arrest is needed. When guidelines are not followed properly, any charges or arrests for DUI violations may be reversed or challenged.

Because of this decision, when a state deems these procedures valid, a person may be charged and eventually convicted of DUI violations when prosecution is able to prove the case. Random checks often reveal intoxicated.

Sobriety Checkpoints in Effect

Stops at these checkpoints have police officers looking for impairment of drivers through various observations. This may also be through a search of the person or vehicle for alcohol or items indicative of drug use or related paraphernalia. Signs officers may discover are usually through odors inside the vehicle or associated with the driver or passenger. These may be due to alcohol, drugs or both. Bloodshot eyes are an indication that the driver is under the influence of some substance in some cases.

Another sign that law enforcement agents look for as indicative of drug or alcohol use is slurred or slowed speech. Other signs may include the inability to answer questions, erratic movements and complications with performing actions. When breath tests are performed, levels above or at .08 blood alcohol content percent are usually a precursor to an arrest for DUI charges. Before or after a breath test, field sobriety tests may be administered to determine intoxication.

Sobriety Checkpoint Expectations

In each state that performs these checkpoints, a county, city or town may establish these procedures with a clear plan in place when it is considered necessary. Cooperation from other departments or agencies may work together in these checkpoints to ensure success. Some cities or counties have seasonal checkpoints that are performed each year a certain time, and some have these processes infrequently. Many holidays may see a sobriety checkpoint, but it is when alcohol is known to be present and consumed regularly that these checkpoints are often initiated. Because these procedures must follow certain guidelines, it is sometimes a requirement that they are announced to the public. A local radio station, newspaper or television news station may announce a sobriety checkpoint days or a week in advance. Signs are placed on the road or freeways to indicate a checkpoint is imminent.

Enforcing a Sobriety Checkpoint

Guidelines for states to follow for sobriety checkpoints are offered by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration when establishing and regulating these operations. Checkpoints should regularly be part of a continuing platform to discourage DUI violations and have backing by the judicial system. A plan should be created first and then implemented in creating and following sobriety checkpoints. A plan should also be in place to ensure the proper chemical or field sobriety tests may be administered.

Individuals who are arrested at sobriety checkpoints may seek legal advice from a DUI lawyer.

A violation of the law has occurred

The capability to stay in the country may be determined by whether the charges end in conviction or a not-guilty verdict. Other factors that may alter the status of a resident may include if any other crimes are committed with the DUI violation or after the violation occurred.

When a person enters the country, he or she has a provisional stay in most instances. Securing citizenship often takes time and much paperwork along with a reason for the person to remain in the country. Because of the provisional status, the constant fear of deportation is a very real threat. In some instances, any single crime may tip the balance into deportation from the United States. This requires the person to return to his or her previous country or another that may accept him or her. Reentry may be possible after these actions, but it becomes much more difficult usually.

How to Get Deported

The conditional agreement when entering the United States is often based on certain factors. These may include a secure line of work, relatives in the country, because of certain situations in the person’s native country when seeking asylum, marriage and other similar conditions. During the process of provisional citizenship, the United States agencies screen these individuals for criminal history, moral character, an agreement to stay at work and an agreement to remain peaceful with no crimes committed. Violations of these stipulations may lead to deportation from the country.

When a person has initiated immigration from their original country to the United States, deportation may occur when any crime considered morally depraved is committed. This usually is deemed one of felony level with violence attached. These may include homicide, manslaughter, rape with or without violence attached, assault crimes, causing disorder and mayhem, large thefts and conspiracy to commit certain crimes. When compared to these harsher and worse crimes, a misdemeanor DUI may not be a concern. In many instances it is only when DUI violations include other crimes or when they are elevated to felony level charges that deportation is a risk. However, being considered a habitual drunk is usually grounds for removal.

Exceptions Causing Deportation

Aggravating factors that cause DUI violations to become harsher may lead to a deportation. These aggravating circumstances often include harsher crimes attached to the initial charge of DUI. The added crimes are usually those of manslaughter, vehicular accidents leading to severe injury and assault with the person’s vehicle. In many instances, the intoxicated driver is either well past the national limit of .08 blood alcohol content percentage, or he or she intended to harm others when driving. Impairment when driving with a legal classification as drunk may cause lapses in judgment or sensory deficiency enough to cause collisions with extensive damage to both property and person. Other factors that may lead to the deporting of the individual often include multiple DUI convictions over the course of a certain amount of years depending upon the state he or she resides. Any additional convictions may cause a work visa to be revoked with leads to the loss of employment in general. The added convictions may also cause the loss of what is considered good moral character which is a requirement in many cases to remain in the United States.

For DUI convictions involving drugs to include marijuana, immigration may be threatened. DUI charges involving drugs may cause severe penalties that could lead to deportation. However, when the drug is marijuana, there is some controversy whether this may affect citizenship heavily. The drug is becoming less important when involved in crimes due to changing attitudes by both American citizens and government officials.

Vital to obtain assistance

Determining which lawyer is best for the claimant may take some time, but the right fit may allow a case to progress naturally and easily. All information about the accident and injury should be explained and shared with the law firm and lawyer as soon as possible.

Procuring the assistance of personal injury law firms is often a necessity when someone collides with the injured person causing him or her to suffer physical injuries. It is vital to understand what to do next after being injured in these accidents. A vehicle accident compensation lawyer may be needed to ensure damages are paid and medical bills are compensated.

Lawyer to Hire

In most cases, the injured party will hire a lawyer in the state where he or she resides. He or she may look for a lawyer who concentrates his or her practice on personal injury cases.

For damages to property and injury to the person due to DUI allegations, instead of a settlement offered through an insurance company, a lawsuit may be filed through a lawyer representing the victim of the accident. Because of complications or issues with drunken driving involvement and injuries incurred from these offenses, a personal injury lawyer may be the right person to protect a compensation claim and ensure fault issues are sorted out in the case. It is usually imperative to ensure all compensatory payouts are received for medical and surgery bills due to bodily harm from an auto collision.

Filing an Accident Claim

Once all the dust has settled and the accident has concluded, the person harmed from the incident should contact his or her insurance company and speak with an agent. In most cases, the insurance carrier of the person at fault pays for damages. However, if he or she is uninsured, a different type of claim should be filed. This is a claim of uninsured motorist coverage to obtain compensation through a different path.

When contacted, the insurance agent usually explains what to do next and how to proceed with the claim. Forms and documentation are often needed to support and build the claim to support the need for compensation from the accident. In most cases, this includes paperwork for medical bills, medication, treatment and estimates for auto damage and repair costs. For assistance with building a claim, a copy of the police report as well as all collectable evidence about the accident should be obtained. These pieces of evidence may include names and numbers of witnesses, pictures of vehicles, photos of the area and conditions and any other related information.

Continuing with the Claim

A claims adjuster is usually assigned to the case after the initial call and setup for the case. This adjuster is the main contact with the insurance carrier after the preliminary stages have been completed. The person assigned will determine the amount of costs associated with the damages and how much compensation should be received due to the DUI violation. The amount that may be claimed through the insurance policy is also established. Once all this has been completed, a settlement amount imay be presented to the victim.

More factors may be in place when an accident occurs

It is essential to understand how the actions of a DUI affect others and how those consequences may reflect back on the person at fault. When injuries occur to others, the driver that caused the collision is usually at fault and responsible for paying damages either himself or herself or through his or her insurance company if the driver acquired an insurance plan.

Driving under the influence offenses lead to many accidents and injury to the driver, passengers and others in many instances. However, these DUI violations may occur through any vehicle operated by a driver. The most common occur with cars, trucks, motorcycles and commercial vehicles. However, operating other vehicles after consuming alcohol may lead to DUI convictions and may include bicycles, boats, all-terrain vehicles and any others similar to these.

DUI in Other Vehicles

Many believe that drinking and operating a vehicle is only punishable with cars, trucks and similar vehicles. When the knowledge about how DUI affects all vehicles that may be operated by a driver is unknown, many may find themselves in legal battles. Though not all states may look at bicyclists and associate liability when the cyclist is under the influence of alcohol, some states have police officers that arrest those that are intoxicated and riding a bicycle. Just as with a car, these vehicles may cause injury to others when a collision occurs. Some states such as California conduct field sobriety tests with those suspected of intoxication and riding a bicycle. This is usually initiated due to the smell of alcohol or perceived inebriated behavior. An arrest is made when determination has concluded that the driver was intoxicated.

Boating incidents have been on the rise for many years due to insufficient knowledge. When various young persons vacation on lakes and rivers, they often bring food and alcohol to socially interact. However, they also tend to drive a boat to get around on the lake or river. When the driver’s blood alcohol content level is at or above .08 percent, law enforcement on these lakes and rivers may arrest these drivers for DUI violations.

DUI and Boating

Checkpoints are both available on land and at sea. Law enforcement may check drivers for sobriety while operating any vehicle. This may lead to DUI charges when the BAC levels are over .08 even for those driving a boat. The reason that boaters are included in these crimes as well as other types of vehicles is mostly due to the impairment alcohol may induce. This impairment may lead to accidents with other vehicles, property damage and injury. It is important to reduce or eliminate these increasing crimes in all forms no matter what type of vehicle is used.

Alcohol-Related Statistics

Every day of the year, at least 32 persons are involved in vehicular accidents that involve alcohol. These impaired drivers cause damage to vehicles, objects and roads. They usually injure others through their actions when accidents occur. Since 2008, over twenty percent of all bicycle riders at least sixteen years of age that are killed have a tested BAC level at or over .08 percent. These numbers climb as each year goes by. For all boating accidents where a fatality has occurred, alcohol is the number one factor involved. Alcohol is a factor of at least sixteen percent of all boating related accidents that include a death.

Possible to minimize the negative ramifications of a drunk driving conviction

One state that permits a plea of impaired driving is Utah. In this state, impaired driving is considered a class B misdemeanor. The maximum penalty imposed for this offense is six months in jail and a fine of $1,000.

Ways to Receive Reduced Charge

In states that permit a plea to a reduced charge, there are generally two ways to receive the reduced charge. The first way is if the defendant’s criminal defense lawyer negotiates a plea agreement with the prosecutor for the reduced charge. In this arrangement, the defendant agrees to plead guilty. In exchange, he or she does not face the original stiffer charges and potential penalties. Plea bargains help criminal defendants because they allow them to escape the uncertainty of a trial by jury. They assist prosecutors and the court system by allowing the prosecutor to receive a conviction and to free up time for more serious cases. This also helps prevent the docket from being flooded with cases that can be resolved out of court.
When a person pleads guilty to an offense, the court has the final word on what sentence to impose. The judge can consider the recommendation by the prosecutor but is not usually bound by it. Additionally, some plea agreements include probation or are enforced under a first offender type program in which the defendant must comply with additional terms. This may include seeing a probation officer, completing an alcohol treatment program, installing an ignition interlock device or completing other conditions imposed by the court. In these types of situations, the plea is usually conditioned on successfully fulfilling the terms imposed by the court.

Another way that a person may be able to plead to impaired driving is if the prosecutor agrees to this charge and the court finds that this plea is in the interest of justice. With this type of arrangement, the charge is not conditioned on successfully completing terms imposed by the court. Instead, the plea is entered into immediately as the reduced charge without threat that it will be upgraded later to a DUI charge.

When Prosecutors Might Agree

The prosecutor must generally agree to providing a lesser charge. The main factor used to determine whether the prosecutor may agree is if the defendant had a BAC under .14. Other factors may include whether the drunk driving offense was related to an accident that caused property damage or injury. Additionally, the prosecutor may consider any criminal history of the defendant.

Reasons to Accept a Plea

There are several advantages to accepting a plea bargain. One is that many of the negative penalties can be avoided. Defendants may be able to avoid jail time altogether. With a reduced charge, the defendant may not lose his or her driver’s license or may lose it for less time than he or she would have for the more serious offense of DUI. Some states have mandatory penalties for first time DUI offenses, and these can often be avoided with a plea of impaired driving or similar charge.

Reasons Not to Accept a Plea

Accepting a plea bargain is not always in the defendant’s best interests. For example, if the prosecution’s case against him or her is weak, a DUI lawyer may be able to get the case dismissed or get the defendant acquitted. This can help the defendant avoid all of the possible criminal penalties associated with a DUI conviction. Additionally, a criminal conviction can sometimes affect a person’s professional license, driver’s license, ability to maintain legal immigration status and ability to maintain standing in the community. It is important that a criminal defendant carefully consider the possible ramifications associated with accepting a plea agreement.

Interlock Device History

An ignition interlock device is a small mechanism that is installed on the dashboard of a vehicle operated by someone who has been convicted of a DUI. This contraption requires the operator of the vehicle to blow into it in order to have his or her breath tested for alcohol. The vehicle will not turn on if the individual blows a BAC over a specified limit or fails to blow into the contraption. Some systems are set up to sound an alarm or alert a probation officer if a high BAC reading is recorded. For devices that do not turn on the vehicle due to a high BAC, the user can expect a short lockout period for a few minutes. However, if he or she continues to provide a sample with a high BAC, the lockout period may be extended.

Emergency of the Device

The ignition interlock device debuted in the early 1970s. However, it took time before these devices came part of the arsenal of penalties that individuals convicted of DUI were subjected to. It was not until the mid-1980s that the device became common place for convicted DUI offenders.

Current Use of Ignition Interlock Devices

Since its emergence, 35 states have introduced bills to require the installation of such devices upon certain convictions. States prefer the use of such devices in order to curtail drunk driving. Many states have reported the number of re-arrests for DUI go down significantly after the installation of this device.

However, each state has individual requirements for when a DUI offender is required to install this device. In most states, this is not required upon a single conviction. The requirement to install an ignition interlock device is usually reserved for when a person has two or more convictions for DUI and the court takes notice that the individual may be a threat to the public.

However, other states only impose this requirement if the individual has been convicted of certain types of DUI offenses. For example, this may be required when the individual had a BAC of or above 0.15 percent. The device may be required when there are other aggravating factors, such as if the criminal defendant caused an accident that resulted in injury or death or if a child was in the vehicle at the time of arrest.

Tamper Resistant Characteristics

Due to attempts from convicted offenders to disable the devices, the current manufactured ignition interlock devices contain tamper-resistant characteristics. If someone attempts to tamper with the device, a violation is recorded in the device’s internal memory. Additionally, the device can tell when the vehicle has been started without the use of a breath sample, such as is the case with hot-wiring the vehicle. This information is also stored in the device’s internal memory. Currently manufactured devices also detect when fake breath samples are provided, such as by using air in a balloon. Ignition interlock devices also come equipped with a backup battery so that the data from the log and the memory stays intact even if the primary battery is disconnected.