There are certain qualifications and guidelines to keep in mind if a person is considering enrolling in the Minnesota Ignition Interlock Device Program. As of 2011, individuals convicted of first-time alcohol offenses may be able to regain driving privileges through the program.
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What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?
Ignition interlock devices are compact units connected to a camera and installed in vehicles to record measurements of a driver’s alcohol concentration level. The driver uses the device near the steering wheel and it’s connected to the engine. Meanwhile, the camera that photographs the driver at the time of use is attached to the windshield, which shows whether the driver is the one using the device.
If the device detects any alcohol in the person’s system, it prevents the user from turning the ignition and starting the vehicle. Even if no alcohol levels are detected and the driver can start the vehicle, the device requires random breath samples as the driver operates the vehicle to ensure they remain sober. If the breath sample detects any alcohol, this is recorded as a violation and Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) will receive notification of the violation.
The duration of the program will depend on the number of offenses on the driver’s record along with the length of the license revocation period.
Who Qualifies for the Interlock Device Program?
The Ignition Interlock Device Program is optional for individuals convicted of a first-time alcohol offense if they:
- Refuse a breathalyzer test or have a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) less than 0.16
- Have a BAC of 0.16 or greater
The program is also available to those with second alcohol offenses in 10 years or three on record. The program is required for third-time offenders in 10 years or those with four or more on record. It is also required for individuals with an alcohol-related criminal vehicular operation (CVO) conviction, provided the incident was non-fatal.
Individuals enrolling in the program must be 18 years old at the time and be eligible for a Class D driver’s license, although drivers with an “Inimical to Public Safety” conviction may qualify with an instruction permit.
Drivers also must own or operate a vehicle with valid insurance, including a car, van, or pickup truck. All other vehicles are excluded.
Ultimately, this program is ideal for individuals who wish to continue driving if convicted of a DWI/DUI offense and their driving privileges are otherwise suspended.