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What Can Go Wrong with an Ignition Interlock Device?

Posted by Steve Karimi | Dec 07, 2017 | 0 Comments

The list of limiting and often painful consequences for a DUI charge can seem never-ending. If you are forced to Install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in your car, you might be wondering what could go wrong with it? This post will share some potential problems and what to do about them.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device (IID) is a machine that is installed into vehicles requiring the driver to breathe into it prior to starting the car. The IID will not permit the car to start if the device detects any alcohol from the breath sample. It also is set to require the driver to periodically breathe into it while the car is running. The cost of the device including rental, installation, and monitoring is the responsibility of the person convicted of DUI. The device is often permitted so that the individual can continue living his or her life attending school, getting to work, obtaining medical care, receiving substance abuse treatment, or completing court-ordered community service.

Why Can You Fail a Breath Test with an IID?

If you get into your car and follow the operating instructions for your IID and fail, the first thing to do is to stay calm. If you have not consumed any alcohol, you should be able to get moving again soon. There are some situations that can cause an IID to malfunction or issue a false reading.

Reasons Why You Could Fail Your IID Breath Test

  • If you used alcohol-based mouthwash, it can cause the failure of the breath test.
  • If you drank fruit juice, it is possible that some of it may have turned to alcohol in your mouth, causing a failure.
  • Those who have eaten yeasty breads or pizza dough could possibly have stray molecules of alcohol in their mouth, causing a failure.
  • If you consumed alcohol the night before and attempted to drive in the morning, small amounts of alcohol remain in your system.

Anyone would be understandably concerned when start time for work or school is looming and you cannot get your vehicle started. If you believe it is something you ate, mouthwash or fermented food, wash your mouth out and re-test. If you drank the night before, knowing when the residual alcohol is out of your system is a guessing game; authorities recommend refraining from drinking while you are using an IID.

You must also submit to breathing tests while driving. The rules are different when you fail a re-test while you are driving. You must pull the car over immediately, shut off the ignition, and wait five minutes. You must then do the breath test before turning your car on again. This rolling failure puts your IID into a different mode of operation that requires service. It is called Early Service Recall mode. As part of the program, you must have the service center reset your device and download the data.

The seriousness of a DUI and of being ordered to use an IID can be intimidating. A failure can send anyone into a panic. Remain calm and follow the procedures. If you are still navigating your DUI charges and you want the best results possible, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Karimi Law Office today.

About the Author

Steve Karimi

Steve Karimi attended Pepperdine University School of Law. After graduation he worked as a prosecutor in Seattle where he gained valuable insight to the criminal justice system. Attorney Karimi uses his experiences as a prosecutor everyday only now he fights for the justice of those accused.


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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.

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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.