What Is an Ignition Interlock System and When Is It Used?

The Ignition Interlock Device is an in-car Breathalyzer that, when used correctly, prevents drunk drivers from driving. The Ignition Interlock system is a device installed near the steering wheel that is about the size of a hand-held calculator and includes a blowing tube. The driver must blow into the tube before starting the vehicle and if the alcohol concentration level after the driver blows into the tube is above a certain limit, the device will prevent the vehicle from starting. The device is installed near the steering wheel and connected to the engine.

When Is the Ignition Interlock Device Used?

The Minnesota Interlock Device program is an optional way for first-time DUI offenders with an alcohol concentration of 0.16 or above and second-time alcohol offenders to regain their driving privileges.

The program is mandatory for drivers whose licenses were cancelled or whose privileges were denied as “inimical to public safety.” These drivers are required to enroll in the Ignition Interlock Device Program for a period of three to six years in order to regain full driving privileges.

Is the Ignition Interlock Device Program Appropriate for You?

In order to qualify for the Ignition Interlock Device program, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
    • Own/drive an eligible vehicle with valid insurance (no motorcycles, mopeds, or commercial vehicles)
    • Have no outstanding withdrawals which would prohibit the issuance of a limited or full license
    • Go to the Deputy Registrar to purchase special plates if license plates have been impounded
    • Must have no existing withdrawals in any other state
    • If driving privilege was revoked prior to age 18, must not be subject to Vanessa’s Law
    • If driving privilege was withdrawn prior to July 1, 2011, must sign Waiver of Rights which can be obtained by contacting Driver and Vehicle Services

If you have been convicted of a DWI, the Ignition Interlock Device program may be an option for you. Since repeat DWI offenders face one year license revocation, and work permits are not always available, the Ignition Interlock Device program may be a way for a DWI offender to save his or her job.

Unlike a restricted license or “work permit,” which only allows DWI offenders to drive to certain places, such as work, school, treatment programs, AA meetings, and other necessary locations, the Ignition Interlock Device program will allow you to drive legally, anytime and anywhere. Moreover, whereas obtaining a work permit can take some time to obtain, the Ignition Interlock Device program is available for use immediately.

Contact a Minneapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer

A Minnesota DWI defense attorney can help you eliminate or reduce penalties and/or regain driving privileges. Minneapolis DWI law firm of Keller Criminal Defense Attorneys has the experience you need to defend your case, protect your legal rights, and minimize the potential DWI penalties. We are familiar with a number of specific issues pertaining to Minnesota DWI charges, including ignition interlock, license plate impoundment, vehicle forfeiture and job loss due to DWI.

If you are facing DWI charges, contact the Minneapolis criminal defense law firm of Keller Criminal Defense Attorneys at (952) 913-1421 today to learn more about the Ignition Interlock Device program.

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.

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Getting falsely accused of domestic violence in Minnesota may put you at risk of losing your job, custody of your children, or even your home. You may face criminal charges and the accusation may damage your reputation in the community, as people will now view you as an abuser. False domestic violence accusations often happen when couples are in a contentious relationship with a risk of divorce.
The top reasons for license suspension in Minnesota include driving under the influence of alcohol, repeated traffic violations, and failure to appear in court or pay fines. Failure to pay child support, criminal convictions and felonies, medical conditions/disabilities, and drag racing can also lead to license suspension. The suspension takes away your driving privileges, preventing you from driving legally.
Motorists arrested for allegedly driving while impaired might wonder, “Can you refuse a breathalyzer?” In Minnesota, the implied consent law requires a person licensed to drive, control, or operate a vehicle to agree to a chemical test to check for alcohol or other intoxicants in that person’s body. Refusing to submit to a breathalyzer or another chemical test is a crime, often charged as a gross misdemeanor.