Confused on where to start after receiving a DUI offense? You’re now required to get an ignition interlock device (or handheld car breathalyzer) and don’t know which kind to get?
The removal of your interlock device should be an exciting time. For those new to interlocks, you might be wondering “when can I get my interlock removed?”
For anyone with an interlock, your removal will come at the end of your ignition interlock term. This refers to the length of time you were required to have the interlock installed by the court. By the time you’re ready to get your IID removed, you should have completed all or most of the obligations pertaining to your drunk driving offense, and it’s time to celebrate the hard work you’ve done.
Each state has different criteria around removal, but you will likely need to confirm with your state monitoring authority that it is time for your car breathalyzer removal. Some states may send out notification regarding this, others might require you to contact the monitoring authority to receive the authorization.
It’s important to wait and receive confirmation before going ahead with your removal. Removing your device too early could be considered tampering, and it might result in your interlock term being extended. Once you’re authorized to remove your device, you will have to go to your interlock provider in order to have your IID removed properly. Your ignition interlock removal technician may need to see documentation authorizing removal before they can complete your request.
Ignition Interlock terms are typically defined by state law. The terms for drunk driving offenses vary by state, but are generally mandated for specific lengths based on the number of offenses and the severity of the offense at sentencing. In some cases, the judge has discretion to shorten or lengthen the interlock term at sentencing based on the information provided to them by law enforcement and the defense counsel. This might include things like:
Defendant’s blood alcohol content at the time of the offense
Results of a substance abuse assessment undergone by defendant
Defendant’s participation in substance abuse treatment or education following their offense
Other information presented by counsel or defendant
Many states require offenders to wait out a certain period of their license suspension before they can regain driving privileges. Typically, installing an interlock device is a requirement in order to begin driving again as well. So, an example interlock term might include waiting out 30 days of the suspension period, installing the interlock device, and keeping it for 6 months.
In states with compliance-based interlock policies, violating policy can cause your interlock term to increase. Violations include failed breath tests or attempts to tamper with your device. All data is shared with the state monitoring authority, who may decide to increase your interlock term based on these violations. This means your initial term outlined in court can be extended by several months, so it’s best to avoid violations if your state has a compliance-based interlock policy.
As we’ve mentioned, ignition interlock removal is very exciting! You will now have the freedom to drive without having to take a breath alcohol content test beforehand. Trips will not be interrupted with random retest requests from your device. You will also no longer have to pay your monthly lease fee. All of this is cause for celebration. However, it’s also important to understand a few things before you get your device removed and forget all about it.
Keep your removal paperwork handy: They will power up their device and blow into it using the device’s required breath pattern (this varies by brand). If they pass, they will be able to start the vehicle.
Late removal may mean late fees: you are responsible for returning your interlock device at the end of your interlock term. Visiting your provider for removal appointment initiates the return process. If you have been authorized for removal and kept your interlock beyond the end date, you may be assessed a late fee.
Remember lessons learned: interlock devices are used as a penalty for drunk driving offenses because they’ve been proven to prevent drunk driving and decrease recidivism. We know the time with your interlock was not exactly pleasant, and we hope you’ve learned how to make more responsible and safer choices to avoid having to install one in the future. These include choosing a designated driver or making alternate plans to get home if you find yourself too drunk to drive.
Your vehicle should be back to normal once the removal is complete, and you will now be able to start your car without needing to pass a breath test first.
When you are authorized to remove your device, you can call ADS to make your removal appointment. At your appointment, you may be asked for the documentation or authorization paperwork. Technicians will remove the interlock device and send it back to the provider for you. They will ensure any remaining device data is properly downloaded and shared with the proper state authorities as well. Remember to be on time for your appointment and bring everything you may need to complete the transaction.