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Ignition Interlock Devices and Ignition Interlock Licenses

An ignition interlock device (IID) is a machine that prevents your car from starting if it detects alcohol on your breath. The installation of an IID can be a penalty imposed by the courts after a DUI conviction. It can also be a condition of obtaining the new ignition interlock license (IIL) if your driver's license will be suspended.

To avoid the installation of an ignition interlock device or to obtain an ignition interlock license, you should seek the help of an experienced DUI defense attorney. Contact our offices in Seattle now for a free consultation.

Ignition Interlock Devices and Washington DUI Laws

Washington State laws and penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs ( DUI, also known as DWI or drunk driving) allow municipal and district court judges to impose additional sanctions on individuals who have been arrested or convicted of a DUI. The additional sanctions could include:

  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)
  • EHM or electronic home monitoring (home detention)
  • Drug or alcohol dependency treatment or counseling
  • Driving school

For those convicted of a DUI with a passenger under sixteen years of age, the court will extend the ignition interlock requirement an additional 60-days . If you have previously been ordered to install ignition interlock as a result of conviction, then the minimum amount of IID time is 5 years. If you have previously been ordered to install an ignition interlock device for five years, then the minimum is increased to ten years.

Ignition Interlock Licenses

If you have been sanctioned by the Department of Licensing (DOL) and have a suspended driver's license as a result of a DUI, you may have an opportunity to obtain an ignition interlock license (IIL)—similar to an occupational/restricted license (ORL)—that will permit driving to and from the following locations:

  • Work
  • School
  • Medical care for yourself or a dependent
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Performing court-ordered community service

You will have to make an application to the department of licensing to receive an IIL, and you will have to submit to the installation of an ignition interlock device in your car for the full term required. An IIL work waiver will allow you to drive a work vehicle, such as a taxi, delivery truck or other company vehicle without an IID installed.

How an Ignition Interlock Device Works

An ignition interlock device is wired into the ignition of your vehicle. In order to start your car, you must provide a breath sample that is free of alcohol. Once your vehicle is running, you will be periodically prompted to give another sample. Many ignition interlock devices are set to be tone specific which means you must hum into them in order for them to register. If somebody other than you blows into the ignition interlock device, the machine may not work.

If the machine registers alcohol on your breath, its function is to disable your vehicle, flash your lights, and honk your horn to draw the attention of law-enforcement. It is a highly problematic fact that many machines give false positives. A common complaint is that spicy food triggers the machine's alcohol sensors. Ignition interlock devices also have a very low tolerance for alcohol (.02%) and sometimes give false positives. "Endogenous ethanol," which the body actually produces despite the fact that no alcohol has been consumed, can cause a false positive.

Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer

At the Seattle Law Offices of Steve Karimi, your initial consultation is free and our fees are extremely reasonable. Call our offices at 206-660-6200 for immediate assistance. You can also e-mail us now for answers to your important questions or to schedule an appointment.

Contact Us

If you were arrested or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Seattle or surrounding areas of Washington State, the Law Offices of Steve Karimi can help. Call 206-660-6200 24 hours a day for a free consultation.

Seattle Defense Lawyer

Named a "rising star" in criminal defense by Washington Law and Politics magazine, Mr. Karimi is a former prosecutor for King County who uses his insight into prosecution strategies to protect his clients' rights in criminal court.