An ignition interlock device allows the driver to continue to use his or her car but also ensures that the driver is not operating the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
These devices allow the driver to continue driving during any Washington license suspension period.
This can be especially helpful for individuals who need to drive during this period of time for their job.
What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?
An Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is an instrument that a driver has to blow into before the vehicle can start. The device measures the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). It must be at a level below .025 for the car to start.
An IID must be installed by someone certified by the Washington State Patrol, and once installed, the installer will need to submit proof of installation to the state. A list of approved installers can be found at: www.wsp.wa.gov/driver/duiimpaired-driving/ignition-interlock/.
The driver needs to submit proof of the ignition interlock device and proof of SR-22 insurance. Once all of this has been submitted and the Washington DOL has approved the ignition interlock license (IIL) application, the driver can operate the vehicle at any time so long as the car is equipped with an IID
Who Is Required to Install an IID?
Defendants who have been convicted for an alcohol or drug-related DUI or Physical Control of a Motor Vehicle are required to install an IID. Previously, an IID was not mandatory, but it has now been made a mandatory requirement. The same would go for some convictions involving reckless driving or negligent driving. Courts additionally have discretion to order IIDs to be installed, depending on the crime involved.
An IID will be required to be installed in any vehicle the defendant drives. If the defendant has to drive an employer-owned vehicle during the work day, he or she can submit an Employer Declaration for Ignition Interlock Exemption to avoid getting the IID installed in the car. However, if the employer’s vehicle is only assigned to the defendant for commuting to and from work, the IID will still need to be installed on the car.
How Long Does the IID Need to Be Installed?
How long an IID needs to be installed depends on the offense committed.
If the conviction is for reckless driving, the IID normally needs to be installed for at least six months. If the conviction was for negligent driving, the IID also needs to be installed for a period of at least six months. If the defendant was convicted of a DUI offense or physical control over a motor vehicle, the length of time the IID needs to be installed depends on how many prior offenses have been committed.
If it is the defendant’s first offense, the IID must be installed for at least one year. For the second offense, the term can be at least five years. For any subsequent offenses, the defendant must have the device installed for at least ten years.
Certificate of Compliance
Once the defendant has completed the required IID time period, a certificate of compliance will be submitted to the court. The certificate will normally come directly from the IID vendor. However, if the driver violates any of the provisions of the IID, the compliance period will restart.
Violating the IID requirement is essentially considered a probation violation, which could mean jail time for the defendant. Most courts will also consider a violation as a completely separate offense, resulting in an additional criminal charge.
How Much Does an IID Cost?
The defendant will be responsible for paying for all costs associated with an IID, including the cost of installing, leasing and removing the device, costs of maintaining proof of financial responsibility or the insurance certificate, the non-refundable ignition interlock license application, and the monthly IID Revolving Account fee that is created to help drivers who have low income and cannot afford to pay the costs of the device.
If the driver cannot pay for the costs of the IID, this inability to afford the device can put him or her in a difficult position, especially if the driver needs to get to and from work.
Washington does offer assistance for low-income drivers during this time period. It requires an application from the defendant, and if the application is approved, the program will reimburse the provider $80 per month for services including installation, the monthly lease fee, the cost of removing the device, and the costs associated with transferring the device to another vehicle, if needed.