In Arthur L. Pressman Law Blog, DWI

As of August 15, 2010, all drivers in New York State convicted of DWI have been required to install an ignition interlock device in the cars they own or operate and to have an ignition interlock restriction added to their license. The device must remain in the vehicle for at least six months. Longer periods are required for aggravated charges, such as extremely high blood alcohol content (BAC > 0.18) or driving while impaired with a child in the car.

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How does an ignition interlock device work?

Typically, the device is stored in the glove compartment and wired to the car’s ignition system. When the driver is ready to operate the vehicle, he or she must blow approximately 1.5 liters of air into a handheld alcohol sensing unit located on the dashboard. The device then processes the exhalant to determine if it is between the preset limits. If the exhalant tests over the limit, the engine will not start. If a driver attempts to use the vehicle without testing first, an alarm sounds, much like the panic button on an electronic key, and continues blaring until the engine is turned off.

Some devices are set to administer rolling tests, conducted while the vehicle is in motion. The driver must blow again. If the driver does not submit to the rolling test or tests over the limit at this juncture, an alarm sounds. The device will not cut off the ignition while the car is in motion, because such a power failure could be disastrous.

The device requires monthly maintenance to keep it well calibrated and to ensure no one is tampering with it. The device has a memory and records the driver’s BAC scores in data logs. Law enforcement or the court can request a print-out of those scores to monitor the driver’s compliance.

Ignition interlock devices are an inconvenience, but for DWI offenders they are better than a total revocation of driving privileges.

Let an experienced New York defense attorney manage your DWI charges

If you’ve been arrested for DWI in the Buffalo area, you need a skilled attorney who will fight for your rights. Before you make any statement to law enforcement, call Arthur L. Pressman, Attorney at Law at 716-984-1795 or contact me online.

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