What Happens If You Violate Your Interlock Device? – Guest Post

Violate Your Interlock Device


Often, prosecutors require an ignition interlock device (IID) or personal alcohol monitoring device (PAM) as part of a plea agreement for alcohol-linked offenses. This can also occur if a person is deferred adjudication or placed on probation for an offense such as obstruction of a passageway or reckless driving.

For those charged for a subsequent DWI conviction, ignition interlock device installation may also be mandated as one of the conditions of probation by statute. In other words, it has to be a part of the punishment in the case as even the judge can’t do away with a statutory requirement.

If you are like most people, you will most likely ask what happens if you violate your interlock device. The answer will often depend on two key elements: the particular requirements laid out in your restricted driving program and where you live.

If the ignition interlock device (IID) is court-mandated, there may be additional rules you need to live by. Essentially, you must have paperwork that will indicate the restricted driving program rules you have to follow. Before knowing what happens if you violate your interlock device, you have to be aware of the possible interlock violations.

The Lowdown on Ignition Interlock Devices

IID devices are very sensitive and can detect even minute levels of alcohol. Typically, the motor vehicle will start when it detects a reading of below .03. However, the low reading record will still be reflected when the data is downloaded at calibration once a month.

The data generated by the ignition interlock device is forwarded to the individual’s probation officer. Data will be downloaded during calibration. Calibration is done once every month.

Each time the device detects a violation, a retest is required. A retest is often done 15 minutes after the initial blow. This is done to compare the two or more blows and determine if any differential is consistent with alcohol.

Failure to do a retest after a violation is considered an attempt to conceal and will be considered a failure by probation. The best policy is to avoid alcohol use during probation.

Possible Interlock Device Program Violations

Ignition interlock device program violations can be found in your court paperwork or IID handbook. They can also be specified in your DMV. Washington DC, as well as all 50 states, have ignition interlock laws.

Critical factors like how long an IDD is installed or who is required to get one can vary from one state to another. However, the things that are considered program violations are identical in every state. Possible program violations can include:

  • Having another person take the breath test
  • Inability to install the IID in the vehicle
  • Skipping a rolling retest
  • Failing one or more rolling retests
  • Removing or tampering with the device
  • Skipping a service visit
  • Not paying the IID service provider
  • Driving the vehicle without an IID

Certain violations are specific to the state or the program regulations. For example, in a few states, there are restrictions regarding when you can drive and where. Not following those parameters is also considered a violation.

Interlock Device Violations: Penalties You Will Face

Penalties for interlock device installations can vary from one state to another. While some states are lenient and can provide multiple chances, others can quickly impose penalties on the first violation. Some of the possible penalties can include:

  • Full suspension
  • Jail time
  • Fines
  • Restricted license revocation
  • Parole revocation (depending on the violation)
  • Increase in the length of time needed to have the device installed

Final Thoughts

Provided that you strictly adhere to the rules provided, you should be able to complete your restricted driving program on time and without paying additional money for legal fees and fines. If you have further questions regarding other likely violations, it would be best to check with your probation officer or your DUI lawyer.


Lauren McDowell is the Content Marketing Strategist for Interlock Install, a Phoenix-based company that performs the installations, service appointments, and removals for ADS Interlock. When not writing, she attends book clubs and enjoys reading stories to her kids.

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