Friday, July 22, 2011
Ignition Interlock (Explained)
As of July 1, 2011, the DWI laws have changed here in the State of Minnesota and as such the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has stopped issuing work permits or limited driver’s licenses to first-time DWI offenders whose alcohol concentration are found to be above (0.15) - and all to any repeat Drunk Drivers.
In place of these long-standing remedies, the DMV has begun an Ignition Interlock program.
An ignition interlock is a device that a driver blows into prior to starting his or her vehicle (and occasionally after the vehicle has been started.) If the device detects alcohol in the driver's breath, it "locks" the driver out. Theoretically, if the device is in a car and working properly, the driver won't be able to start the car and won't run the risk of driving drunk. As a result, everyone is safer, right?
Granted, the program does allow for drivers to regain their full driving privileges more quickly, in some cases as soon as they can be set up the program, after a Drunk Driving arrest; however, it ain't going to be cheap. And, if you can't pay - you can't drive.
Ignition Interlock - Is it for You?
I can't deny that this program will be particularly beneficial for drivers whose licenses have been canceled as Inimical to Public Safety (IPS) or for those individuals who have had multiple alcohol-related driver's license revocations or DWI convictions - because it may allow those most drivers to actually regain their licenses in a reasonable amount of time. (Prior to such a program, a driver canceled IPS had almost no option other than to wait out the entire cancellation period.)
However, due to the fact that these new laws could impact 1st time offenders - with relatively low alcohol concentrations - the question remains: Will it hurt more alleged violators than it helps?
For those who are willing to comply with the program's requirements, a huge disadvantage is that it can be quite expensive. In addition to the driver's license reinstatement fee you must pay (of aproximately $680.00) you could also be assessed certain application fees to even get into the program. You might also be ordered to complete (or at least enroll in) certain chemical treatment and/or health assessment programs.
Coupled with those costs, the Ignition Interlock device (and the monitoring equipment) also comes at a price. As of the now, it's believed that to install it will set you back aproximately $100 - and to operate it --- that could top out at something approaching a $125 each month. All in all, if your license is revoked for up to a year - you're looking at a total cost approaching $2,000 or more.
How Will This Impact You?
The program's requirements will vary depending on your driver’s license status - whether your license has been revoked or canceled and/or if you have previous revocations or cancellations for Drunk Driving on your record.
Sometimes practical considerations also might come into play such as: What if you must drive a work vehicle or what if your spouse also drives your car?
Because this program is a new one, a number of kinks are going to need to be worked out - and unfortunately these "common" problems aren't always going to come with easy answers.
What Should You Do?
If you are facing a loss of your driver’s license, because of a Drunk Driving Arrest, the best thing you can do is to speak to an experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney today. Get the answers you need - and the defense you deserve.