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Washington Ignition Interlock Devices

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If you’ve been accused of failing to start a vehicle with a properly-installed ignition interlock device, you need an experienced ignition interlock violations attorney to fight on your behalf for the best possible outcome. At Emerald City Law Group, we understand the complexities of the law involving IIDs and charges for driving under the influence (DUI). Call a Seattle DUI attorney at our office today at 206-973-0407, or use our contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

What is an Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device (IID) is a piece of electronic equipment installed in a vehicle that prevents it from starting until and unless the driver blows into said device. Functioning as a miniature breathalyzer, the IID will not allow the vehicle to start unless the level of alcohol detected in your breath is below a certain level. As well, an IID may record how many failed attempts were made to start the vehicle. Such data can be made available to a judge or probation officials.

In the state of Washington, an ignition interlock device is a court-ordered condition of probation following a DUI conviction. While your license is on suspension for DUI, you may apply for an Ignition Interlock License (IIL) with the Washington Department of Licensing. This type of license allows you to drive the vehicle while your existing license is on suspension.

The Department of Licensing in Washington requires any IID to be installed by a state-certified installer. Applying for an ignition interlock device with the Washington State Department of Licensing costs $100. The cost of the device itself and having it installed in your vehicle can vary. You may pay $80 or more monthly, in addition to other associated charges for monthly service.

When you blow into an IID, the device evaluates your breath to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). It then prevents the engine from starting if your BAC above .025 percent.

Provisions of Washington’s Ignition Interlock Program

With an IIL, you may legally operate a vehicle with an IID installed in your vehicle. You may send an application for an IIL any time after your arrest or license revocation hearing. If you apply for an IIL, you automatically waive your right to ask for an administrative hearing to contest the revocation of your license. To successfully apply for and obtain an IIL, you must provide proof of financial responsibility, including proof of IID installation and SR-22 insurance.

With an IIL, you are required to have an ignition interlock device installed in all vehicles to drive for the duration of your suspension. This also covers work vehicles. However, there is an exception you may take advantage of that allows your employer to sign an Employer Declaration for Ignition Interlock Exemption as long as the vehicle is not exclusively used by you for work purposes.

The costs of installing and maintaining an IID are incumbent upon the driver. However, Washington State offers financial help for individuals who qualify under the state’s poverty guidelines.

When is an IID Required?

Obtaining an IID and IIL is required when your conviction involves DUI/physical control. Convictions of lesser alcohol-related offenses such as negligent or reckless driving may require an IID. Even with no prior DUI convictions, the court has the authority to require an IID or other impositions as it deems appropriate.

How Long is an IID Required?

The number of years you are required to have an ignition interlock device in your vehicle is based on whether you have a previous DUI conviction, and whether the state previously ordered you to install an IID.

  • First Offense – An IID is required for one year
  • Second Offense – An IID is required for five years
  • Third or Subsequent Offense – An IID is required for 10 years

Removing the Ignition Interlock Device

After the minimum installation period ends, you may remove the IID. However, the installer of the IID must send proof to the Department of Licensing that over a period of four months preceding the removal of the device, the driver did not fail to properly maintain the IID, did not fail to start the vehicle with a BAC of 0.04 or greater, and did not fail to pass re-tests as required by law or miss any of the required re-tests.

Removing an IID early will result in a suspension of your driving privileges. Your restricted license will be canceled if you remove an IID while such a license is still in effect. Your license will also be suspended if you remove an IID after the reinstatement of your license, but prior to the end of the required IID period.

Contact an Experienced Ignition Interlock Violations Attorney

If you have been convicted of a DUI, an ignition interlock license can help you continue driving while an IID is installed on your vehicle. However, if you are now charged with a DUI or violating the safeguards in place with your IID, you need strong and intelligent legal representation. At Emerald City Law Group, we are here to help you mount a strong defense that seeks to lessen or eliminate the charges you’re facing.

To get started with a free, initial consultation, call a Seattle DUI attorney today at 206-973-0407, or send us a request through our contact form.