Louisiana Ignition Interlock Device Offenses
Over 5,500 people were arrested in 2019 for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Louisiana and the penalties for this offense can be stiff. Possible penalties include fines, jail or prison time, a suspended license, and an ignition interlock device.
If you are required to have an ignition interlock device in your vehicle and think that you are going to find a way to get around the requirement, think again. There are ignition interlock device offenses that could result in even more criminal charges and punishment.
Read on to learn more about these Louisiana laws.
What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?
An ignition interlock device (IID) is a device that is installed in your to detect alcohol on your breath. It is connected to your car’s engine, and will not allow you to start your car until you blow into it and register a blood alcohol level under a certain amount. If it is above a certain level, or if you do not blow into it, the car will not start.
Louisiana Driving Under the Influence Laws
If you are arrested and convicted of driving under the influence in Baton Rouge, Livingston, Ascension, or anywhere in the state of Louisiana, you are subject to penalties that could include an IID.
If you are a first-time offender charged with DWI, you can face the following penalties upon conviction:
- A fine of up to $1,000
- Jail time between two days and six months
- Driver’s license suspension for 90 days
- Possibility of an IID for six months
If you are a repeat offender, though, your penalties are even stiffer. For your second offense, you are facing:
- A fine of up to $1,000
- Jail time between 30 days and six months
- Driver’s license suspension for one year
- Requirement of an IID once your license is reinstated
If you are convicted a third time, your fines double, you could face up to five years of incarceration, and your IID will be installed for a minimum of one year, after your two-year license suspension.
IIDs are required if you are a first- or second-time offender and you plead guilty or nolo contendere. You are also required to have one if you are a first-time offender with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.20 or higher, which is more than two times the legal limit of 0.08.
Ignition Interlock Device Offenses
If you are required to have an IID installed in your car, you must abide by those rules. You cannot try to circumvent the device to operate your car after consuming alcohol. RS 14:334 states that if you are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle unless it is equipped with an IID, you may not:
- Operate, borrow, or lease a motor vehicle unless it is equipped with the IID
- Ask another person to blow into the IID so that you may start the vehicle
- Have another person blow into the IID to provide an operable vehicle for you
- Tamper with the IID
If you are convicted under these laws, you may face up to six months imprisonment and a fine of up to $500, or both.
How Does an Ignition Interlock Device Work?
Once you are required to install an IID in your vehicle, you have a window of time during which you must get it done. If you have multiple motor vehicles that you drive, you must have an IID installed in each one of them.
The IID needs to be leased from a state of Louisiana-approved provider and installed by them as well. The Office of Motor Vehicles provides a list of all State Police Applied Technology-approved manufacturers that you may select to lease and install your IID.
Once the device is installed, you most likely will need to report back to the court or your probation officer to let them know that you have the device installed. You also may have to provide proof, such as the lease agreement or installation receipt showing when it was installed.
The cost of the lease and installation of the IID is covered by you, and it usually costs between $75 and $150 to install the device and $60 and $100 per month for monitoring.
Monitoring the IID
Every time you get into your vehicle, you will need to blow into the IID in order to start it. Your BAC must be below a set percentage, which is usually 0.04. If it is not below this, the car will not start.
If your BAC is over a certain level, you also run the risk of a report being generated and sent to the court or your probation officer in addition to your ignition being locked.
How to Avoid an Ignition Interlock Device
If you want to avoid an IID, you need to consult with a DWI attorney. Someone who is experienced in defending those charged with DWI will be able to help you mount a defense to your charges, such as arguing that you were driving while intoxicated due to an emergency situation or that law enforcement did not properly adhere to your rights when stopping, arresting, and testing you.
Contact a DWI Attorney
Not only are ignition interlock devices a general nuisance to have in your car, but they can also cost you a significant amount of money. You could be facing costs of $1,000 or more depending on how long you have to have it installed.
If you’ve been charged with a DWI and you are facing the possibility of an ignition interlock device in your car, you should contact attorney Carl Barkemeyer today. He is available via phone 7 days a week between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. to discuss your case. Don’t try to navigate the criminal justice system on your own. Let an experienced criminal defense lawyer handle it for you.