What is an Ignition Interlock Device in Georgia?
An ignition interlock device (IID) is a breathalyzer for an individual's vehicle. It requires the driver to blow into a mouthpiece before starting or continuing to operate the vehicle. An IID is directly connected to the engine's ignition system. If the device detects alcohol, it will prevent the engine from being started. In recent years, IID devices have been modified to also test at random times after the engine has been started. The purpose of the retest is to prevent someone other than the driver from providing a breath sample to start the car.
As of July 1st, 2017, Georgia drivers arrested for DUI have the option to request an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) hearing or install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. However, Georgia drivers that have been arrested for a second DUI within 5 years are required to install the device for twelve months.
What are the Costs Associated with an Ignition Interlock Device?
If you are required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle or choose to install one to avoid the automatic suspension of your license, there are multiple fees you will be responsible for. There is usually a $100-$200 installation fee as well as monthly fees ranging from $70-$100 per month.
Other costs not included are maintenance fees and calibration charges. Before going to a shop, call to make sure they are willing to install the device on your vehicle. Some shops avoid installing IID devices on luxury cars because they do not want to be responsible if the vehicle is damaged. Additionally, it may be more expensive to install an IID on a new vehicle because their wiring information has not been released.
Tampering with an Ignition Interlock Device in Georgia
O.C.G.A. §42-8-118 outlines three ways a person can tamper with an ignition interlock device:
- By requesting or soliciting another person to blow into the device to start the vehicle
- By blowing into an IID to start the vehicle for a person with a restricting driving license
- By tampering or circumventing the operation of an ignition interlock device.
Tampering with an ignition interlock device will have harsh consequences. As stated previously, IIDs have been modified over the past years to avoid someone else from starting the car for the offender. Requiring a sample while driving ensures that the same person provided the breath sample that started the car and that the driver is sober. The device will log attempts to circumvent blowing into the device to start the car and they will be forwarded to the driver's probation officer. Additionally, a failure to provide an adequate sample will also be logged and reported to the probation officer.
If charged with tampering with an IID device, the accused will be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both. Additionally, it will likely result in a probation revocation hearing where the judge forgoes the rest of probation and requires the driver to finish their sentence in jail. Another possible outcome is that the judge may extend the amount of time the IID will remain on your vehicle.
What Happens if the Ignition Interlock Device Registers Alcohol?
A condition for every person on probation for DUI is that they are prohibited from consuming any alcohol. It is not their BAC that is measured; it is whether the device detects any amount of alcohol! Many people do not understand that a driver's probation officer will have access to every sample provided on the device. IID devices keep a record of the activity on the device. This record is printed out or downloaded, and the probation officer reviews the results. If the driver fails to provide a sample or tests positive for alcohol, the probation officer will likely file a petition to revoke some or all of their probation. The next step is that a warrant is issued for their arrest and they will be held until the hearing, Hearings can take up to 30 days, and the probationer will be left in jail until the hearing.
It is important to note using certain products can lead to a false positive for alcohol by the device. Some of these products include mouthwash, gels, soaps, hand sanitizers, and hand wipes. These products have isopropyl alcohol in them, and the IID is unable to tell the difference between this and ethyl alcohol. However, proving it was isopropyl instead of ethyl can be difficult. Contact one of our attorneys today if this applies to you.
Contact Us Today
Whether you have been court ordered to install an ignition interlock device or you have chosen to install one to avoid your license being suspended, you should contact one of our Ignition Interlock Device Lawyers now. We have decades of experience and will carefully walk you through your options. We want you to be fully informed before making any decision. Contact us now for a free case evaluation.