The state implemented IIDs to streamline your ability to obtain an occupational driver’s license allowing you to drive to and from work, school, and other necessary destinations.
Previously, you had to petition the court for an occupational license after waiting for a specified period. You were required to demonstrate driving was essential for employment or school.
However, the court could deny the petition in the interest of public safety. If granted, the occupational license was extremely limited to a certain number of hours per day and on certain days of the week.
This complex process often caused those convicted of a DWI to drive on a suspended license, so the law didn’t work.
Now, IIDs provide a quick and clear pathway to driving freedom while keeping intoxicated drivers off the road.
What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?
An ignition interlock device is wired into your vehicle’s system, preventing the engine from starting until the driver provides a breath sample blown through a small handheld unit near the driver’s seat. If the device doesn’t detect alcohol, the engine starts. However, alcohol detection prevents the vehicle from starting.
An IID also requires periodic random breath samples to operate the car. If the IID detects alcohol, it notifies the driver to pull over and stop. If the driver doesn’t stop, the IID sets off an alarm by blinking the headlights or sounding the horn, which continues until the vehicle stops.
All breath samples the driver provides are logged in a database accessible by the court, which assesses additional penalties for drinking and attempting to use a motor vehicle.
The IID is also equipped with a camera that captures an image of the person providing the breath sample, so you can’t fake it out by asking someone else to blow into the tube.
Ignition Interlock Devices and Texas Law
DWI laws and the requirements for an ignition interlock device are found in the penal code, the code of criminal procedure, and the transportation code. The distribution of regulations creates a web of coverage meant to protect public safety.
Eligibility requirements for an IID include the following:
- A current Texas driver’s license that is not suspended, revoked, canceled, or denied for any reasons other than a DWI offense
- Submission of a restricted interlock fee
- Installation of an IID by a state-approved provider
- Payment of any outstanding replacement fees
Texas requires the installation of an IID for DWI offenders as a condition of their bond or probation, but they must meet specific criteria. The law restricts anyone whose driver’s license has been suspended for DWI to drive only a motor vehicle where an IID is present.
The court must order IIDs as a condition of bond for all second and subsequent offenders and offenders charged with intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter. https://brettpodolsky.com/intoxicated-manslaughter/
Any first offender with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 or higher and first offenders under 21 years old must also install an IID.
Offenders who do not get probation as a disposition of their case are not required to install an IID. Nor does a driver convicted of a first-time DWI with a BAC less than 0.15. Anyone convicted of DWI with a BAC under 0.15 can refuse a device and accept a hard license suspension.
However, drivers with a second DWI within ten years of a first conviction or a BAC of 0.15 or higher do not have the option to refuse an IID.
How Long Must the IID Remain Installed?
The ignition interlock device must remain installed until the case is disposed of, if ordered as a condition of the bond. If ordered as a condition of probation, the IID must remain installed for at least half the probationary period.
Some jurisdictions require longer installation, which is up to the court’s discretion. Typically, you can remove it after meeting the requirements, regardless of any violations registered, because Texas doesn’t currently use compliance-based removal.
Proof of IID installation allows an offender to receive an unrestricted occupational driver’s license. Someone convicted of DWI where the DPS suspends their license can still drive as long as the conviction is their first DWI, the BAC is less than 0.15, and the vehicle has an IID installed.
Ignition Interlock Device Installation
The first-time conviction process of installation begins with a court order limiting the driver to operating only a vehicle equipped with an IID.
The court sends a copy of the order to the Texas Department of Public Safety, which then sends a notice to the driver of the cancellation of their regular driver’s license effective 30 days from the date of the notice.
Before the 30-day limit expires, the driver must have the IID installed in their vehicle by a DPS-certified installer. Once the company installs the device, the driver can apply to the DPS for an occupational driver’s license by submitting the appropriate documentation and paying the fees.
The cost of an IID varies according to the make and model of the vehicle and the amount of time the device must remain installed. In Texas, IDDs are leased and typically cost the driver between $2.50 and $3.50 per day.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) estimates the average cost of an IID is between $70 and $150 to install and $60 to $80 per month for monitoring and calibration.
If the court determines a driver cannot afford to pay the entire fee, it may impose a payment schedule that will not exceed twice the period the driver must have the device installed.
Texas requires drivers meeting specific criteria to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles as a condition of bond or probation. Once installed, the device requires the driver to provide a breath sample before starting the car. It prevents the engine from starting if it detects alcohol.
A camera in the IID ensures the driver provides the breath sample instead of someone else in the vehicle.
The device also requires the driver to provide random breath samples while driving and notifies the driver to stop the car if it detects alcohol. If the driver doesn’t stop the vehicle, the device causes the headlights to flash or sounds the horn until the vehicle stops.
The court requires the driver to pay for installation, calibration, and monitoring of the IID throughout the period the device remains in the vehicle. If the driver cannot pay the entire amount, the court sets up a payment plan for half the cost.
While you can refuse an IID in some situations, doing so will result in a suspended license. You must find other transportation or break the law by driving on a revoked license.
Contact an Attorney for DWI
If you are charged with a DWI, contact the office of Brett Podolsky. He is an experienced DWI attorney who helps protect your rights and ensures the police and courts follow legal policies.