How Does an Ignition Interlock Device Work?

Ignition interlock devices (IIDs), also known as breathalyzers, are frequently installed in the vehicles of those charged with DUIs as an effort to reduce any further drunk driving offenses. While all 50 states have some sort of ignition interlock device protocol in place, Tennessee is one of 34 states where everyone convicted of driving while intoxicated must install an IID in their car.

How it Works

An IID connects to a vehicle’s ignition and measures the driver’s breath alcohol concentration. Without a reading within the legal limit, the car will not start.

It is not enough to simply provide an accepted sample to start the engine. The IID will ask for readings throughout a driver’s trip to verify that they are not drinking and driving. The IID tracks all readings, with any infractions being reported to the state monitoring department.

Ignition interlock devices allow drivers to return to the roads and safely resume their normal life and schedule. It also affords the driver more freedom. Before, with restricted licenses, a convicted driver could only travel to and from work. By using an ignition interlock device, an individual is not subject to any geographical restrictions.

When Is an Ignition Interlock Device Necessary?

Tennessee requires every driver convicted of a DUI to install an ignition interlock device, including first-time offenders. The state laws extend further to specify that the breathalyzers must also be equipped with cameras so that officials may ensure it is in fact driver who is providing the breath sample.

How Long Do I Need to Use an Ignition Interlock Device for?

If an individual convicted of a DUI wishes to drive during their license revocation period, they must have an ignition interlock device installed for the entirety of that period. Typically, the revocation term lasts for:

  • First offense: 1 year
  • Second offense: 2 years
  • Third offense: 6 years
  • Fourth offense: 8 years

You must complete at least one year of driving with the ignition interlock device installed. If you were convicted of a second DUI, you can elect to either drive the entire two years with the device installed or go for one year without driving and then receive your restricted license and drive with an IID for one year.

How Much Does It Cost to Install an Ignition Interlock Device?

While the exact price of your ignition interlock device installation and maintenance will vary based on your provider, Tennessee has set some price limits to prevent any outlandish fees. The current limits state that:

- It shall cost no more than $75 an hour and take no more than 3 hours to install the device

- It shall cost no more than $125 per month to lease, monitor, and maintain an IID

- If the participant’s program is extended due to noncompliance, the fees cannot exceed $5 per day or $125 per month during the extension, whichever is less

- It shall cost no more than $75 to remove the IID

- It shall cost no more than $50 to reset an IID that has had five or more violations

- It shall not cost more than $25 for a temporary lockout code

- Annual administrative fees are $12.50

Convicted drivers are responsible for these fees unless they were found indigent by the judge who originally found them guilty of DUI.

If you or a loved one have recently been arrested for DUI, contact Patton | Pittman for the aggressive defense you need to challenge the charge. Call us at (931) 361-4477 to get started.

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