Can I drive wherever I want if I am using an ignition interlock?

After a drunk driver killed her son, a Minnesota woman decided to go to work strengthening the state’s DUI laws. According to the Post-Bulletin, she is working with state legislators to require anyone convicted of a DWI to have an ignition interlock device installed. As a DWI attorney in St. Paul would know, participation in the program is often a choice among other consequences, though there are some cases in which enrollment is mandatory.

For those who are participating in the program, it is important to understand the laws surrounding when and how it must be used. Failure to do so could result in a total loss of driving privileges.

Choosing the interlock program

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, drivers in the state who are not required to participate in the ignition interlock program may have the choice to do so in order to avoid a limited license or license revocation. For example, a first-time offender who had a blood alcohol concentration of less than 0.16 can choose to install an ignition interlock device, lose driving privileges for 90 days or receive a limited license.

A limited license typically only allows someone to drive to work or school. Many people may opt to install an ignition interlock because it typically means they can drive wherever they want. However, there are some drivers whose driving privileges have been deemed inimical to public safety. Those individuals will have a limited license after required enrollment in the interlock program.

Understanding the choice

A DWI attorney in St. Paul would likely recommend that anyone choosing to install an ignition interlock device should have an understanding of how the program works. Drivers have to blow into the tool in order to get their cars to start. If alcohol is detected, the vehicle will not start and a report is automatically sent to the Department of Public Safety.

Other considerations include the following:

  • The device can request random breath tests while the vehicle is in motion.
  • The ignition interlock comes with a camera to ensure the correct person is taking the test.
  • Users will have go to a service appointment every 30 days.

According to the law, anyone who commits a violation may have extended participation in the program or could even totally lose driving privileges. While it may seem that the ignition interlock program is preferable for many drivers, the best course of action is to avoid punishment altogether. A DUI conviction in Minnesota is a serious offense that carries potential consequences of time in prison, fines and a permanent entry on a criminal record.

Anyone who is facing drunk driving charges or has questions about the state’s laws should consult with a DWI attorney in St. Paul.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

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