Damaged or Stolen Ignition Interlock Devices: Who is Responsible?

Damaged or Stolen Ignition Interlock DeviceTechnology is a wonderful thing, and has provided us all with many conveniences, entertainment and productivity. Technology is the reason why an ignition interlock device (IID) is relied on to help prevent drunk drivers on the road, especially considering a person who has been drinking is not always the best judge of his or her own sobriety. However, as with any type of technology, an ignition interlock device can malfunction, become damaged or break. If you are required to use an IID and your device is not working properly, or has been stolen, it is your responsibility to follow the guidelines of your sentence and have the device fixed or replaced immediately.

Depending on the state in which an ignition interlock device installation has been ordered, the reports are sent to either the Department of Motor Vehicles, the court in which the conviction occurred, or another agency as defined in that state’s law. Once the IID reports are no longer being submitted regularly, the burden falls on the convicted drunk driving offender to prove he or she has been following the procedure for ignition interlock reporting. Failure to fix or install a new IID can easily lead to a longer installation time period, as well as more fines, court costs and even jail time or license suspension.

A damaged or destroyed IID is not an excuse in any court for the failure to provide a clean breath sample or for not using the device at all. Unfortunately, there have been instances of a drunk driving offender attempting to circumvent the IID sentence through damaging, destroying or removing the device and claiming ignorance. The responsibility of maintaining an ignition interlock device for the duration of the court’s order is solely that of the offender, even if an IID is damaged, destroyed or stolen. Technology is an all-inclusive part of living today, but the personal responsibility of maintaining that technology, particularly in the case of a drunk driving conviction and IID sentence, will always remain in the hands of its “owner.”

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