A DUI conviction can bring with it a number of different penalties. That includes the potential for a hefty fine, jail time, a suspension of your driver’s license and community service. One of the possible penalties people reference most often though is the ignition interlock device.
These devices require the driver to perform a breath test in order to start the car. If the driver registers a blood alcohol content (BAC) above 0.05, it will prevent the car from starting. It’s important to know even first-time offenders can end up with an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.
Ignition interlocks after a first-time offense
In New Jersey, the penalties for DUI can scale up or down depending on the severity of the violation and whether somebody is a repeat offender. This generally holds true for ignition interlock devices, though there are instances in which a judge can order someone with an otherwise clean record to install the device.
For first-time DUI offenders, the courts may choose to require the use of an interlock ignition device for anywhere from six months to a year after the restoration of the person’s license.
That changes if an offender’s BAC was at 0.15 or above. In those cases, an ignition interlock device is mandatory. The offender must install the device during the period of their driver’s license suspension and for six months to one year afterward.
If someone is convicted of DUI again, they may face a longer ignition interlock period. In these situations a court can require the offender to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle both during the time their license is suspended, and for anywhere from one to three years after their license is restored.
A driver might also have to install an ignition interlock device if they refuse an Alcotest/Breathalyzer test after an officer arrests them on suspicion of DUI.
An ignition interlock device – as well as the fines, jail time and other penalties stemming from a DUI – can be hugely disruptive. While the law can hit even first-time offenders pretty hard, know that it may be possible to negotiate a more favorable deal that helps return your life to normal as quickly as possible.