I Think My Ignition Interlock is Broken!

Is my ignition interlock broken?Nothing last forever, and even though we know that our favorite devices have a limited lifespan, it still hurts when they finally glitch out and are no longer usable. This situation can be exceptionally difficult when you have an ignition interlock, especially if you suspect your device is not working properly and you are already late to work or another important appointment. Or, really, anytime. After all, the interlock is your ticket back to freedom – of course you want it to work!

The good news is that if you think your ignition interlock is broken, you have several options. First, check to make sure you’re using it correctly. Sometimes, the breath sample you submit just is not strong enough and you will have the chance to try again in a few minutes.  If that does not work, or you are getting an error despite knowing you are sober, your next step is to call your ignition interlock service provider. They will be able to walk you through any troubleshooting you may need to solve any problems with your interlock.

If your ignition interlock will not turn on, you should call your service provider immediately. Since an ignition interlock will record any attempts to circumvent the device (like, disabling it), you do not want to be held in violation of your interlock requirement by your state.

No device is perfect, and while the federally-regulated ignition interlock utilizes some of the best technology today, a round of bad tests could indicate a problem with the device itself. If you suspect your ignition interlock may be having isssues, do not try to fix it yourself. Be sure to call your ignition interlock service provider and explain the problems you are experiencing. After that, it should not be hard to get back on the road, with an ignition interlock that is doing its job right: keeping the streets sober and giving you back your hard-earned life.

Oops! I Missed My New York Ignition Interlock Test!

I missed my interlock test in New YorkWe all lead busy lives and there’s no counting the number of tasks on our list that we somehow forget in the hurry of the day. When you have an ignition interlock on your vehicle, however, the last thing you want to do is miss a test, and in New York, missing that ignition interlock test can be a serious matter.

Most “missed” ignition interlock tests happen when the DWI offender is already driving, during the rolling re-tests. You could be busy navigating the traffic of an urban, crowded New York city, or on the interstate without an exit to pull over in time to take the test. In either of these cases, missing just one test prompt will not be held against you, and you will have another prompt shortly after the one you missed. However, if you continue to miss your New York ignition interlock test, your actions can be seen as trying to not submit a breath sample. You could be drinking and driving, despite your ignition interlock… and New York will want answers.

If missing your ignition interlock test becomes an actual violation, you will have an even harder road ahead. New York has some of the strictest ignition interlock requirements in the U.S., and any violations could result in an extension of your interlock requirement, complete suspension of your driver’s license, further DWI charges or even jail time.

Avoiding an “oops” with your ignition interlock comes down to your ability to submit a breath sample in a short amount of time after missing a test. Any other missed tests will only get you deeper into the depths of a DWI and the consequences for drinking and driving. No matter how busy you are, just remember that you’re never too busy to prove your sobriety when driving.

Does Your Spouse Have an Ignition Interlock?

Does your spouse have an ignition interlock?Nobody ever thinks that “happily ever after” could involve a drunk driving conviction and an ignition interlock device. Commitments to life partners are voluntary, and sometimes that does mean you are also committing to their poor judgment. However, most couples coast through their experience with an ignition interlock device, as long as everyone understands the reason for the device and the problem that led to its installation in the first place.

If your spouse has an ignition interlock, keep in mind the following:

  • You will have to learn how to properly use the device in case you have to drive that vehicle.
  • Your vehicle may be named by the court to also have an ignition interlock device installed, especially if your spouse regularly operates your car.
  • Your spouse will be required to attend periodic service appointments in addition to the requirements of the court for their drunk driving conviction.
  • You cannot submit your own breath sample for your spouse or partner. If they have been drinking, you need to be the driver or have them leave the vehicle where they are and find a safe ride home.
  • Your vehicle will not be harmed during the installation, service appointments or the de-installation of the ignition interlock device.

An ignition interlock device is not the end of the world for you or that “special someone” in your life. Rather, it is a chance for everyone to get back into healthier habits with alcohol and responsible driving. Not only are you allowing yourselves the time to recover  after your spouse’s drunk driving conviction, but you are establishing better patterns for the years to come. An ignition interlock requirement will not last forever, and once it is removed, you can both look forward to a promising future without risking more bad judgment and intoxicated driving.

The High Cost of a Colorado DUI

How much does a Colorado DUI cost?Wallet in hand, you turn to a room full of people and pull out $10,000 with a frown. You watch as the group holds out their hands to take your hard-earned money and sigh. How this moment happened is still a blur, all you remember is that you were drinking with friends and now you have to pay the price… like you’re stuck in a bad dream and you cannot wake up.

This isn’t a dream, this is the high cost of a Colorado DUI.

A Colorado DUI is a serious crime, whether it is your first offense, or if you have a habit of drinking and driving; lives could be lost, or forever changed. That’s no way to live your life, and nobody deserves to be the victim of your “one for the road.” As such, a first-offense DUI in Colorado will be a painful financial lesson, to the tune of $10,000 or more.

A Colorado DUI costs so much because you now have to pay:

  • Higher insurance premiums.
  • Court costs.
  • Attorney fees.
  • Alcohol education classes and treatment evaluation costs.
  • Probation supervision fees.
  • Car breathalyzer or ignition interlock fees.
  • License reinstatement fees and more.

While a Colorado DUI is an expensive way to learn responsible drinking, once it is over, you can look forward to a better future where you understand the error of your ways. You can make better decisions when out with friends, and be an example of positive change for everyone. There is only one way to avoid the high cost of a Colorado DUI, and that is to always be sober when driving. No worries about your finances, and no bad dreams. Just a promising future that lets you keep your money where it should be, and the roads safe from a risky, intoxicated driver.

When Your Friend Borrows Your Ignition Interlock (and Car)

friend-borrow-ignition-interlockGood friends are hard to come by, and after you’ve been convicted of a DUI, some of your friends may have stepped back while you began rebuilding your life. Other friends, the great friends, have stood by you as your conviction was handed down, you attended any programs that were ordered and you had an ignition interlock device installed on your car. Perhaps you felt pretty lucky that you were given a “second chance” by the court on top of the support of your friend. Now that the dust has settled and you’ve gotten the hang of your ignition interlock, what will you do when your friend wants to borrow your car?

You should let your friend borrow your car.

Even with an ignition interlock, anyone with a legal driver’s license can operate your car. If your friend does not mind blowing into the device to start your car and can safely perform the rolling re-tests, there will not be a problem. Make sure that your friend understands that in order to keep you out of trouble, they have to submit a breath sample whenever prompted – and that they cannot, under any circumstances, drink alcohol and then drive.

As a reminder, never ask your friend to submit a breath sample for you if you’ve been drinking. You could end up in more trouble, and your friend could have some legal charges to answer to as well.

Life after a DUI isn’t difficult, especially when you’ve got a good friend along for the ride… or, the drive. Your second chance is more than your ignition interlock – it is realizing that even when you’ve made a bad choice after too many drinks, you’ve got a friend who’s got your back and will be with you, no matter what.

Your DWI Crosses State Lines in New York

Penalties for an out-of-state DWI in New YorkGone are the days when a crime committed in one state could be left in that state, which is a relief when you think about it. “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” is no longer the way the U.S. operates, especially when it comes to drunk driving. With the interstate compact and the ease of information sharing today, your Boston vacation DWI will definitely count against you when you get back home to New York… and then you’ll have two states’ worth of consequences to face.

Any out-of-state DWI will affect your New York driver’s license. You won’t have to go to court in New York for an out-of-state DWI court charge (you’ve already got another state waiting for your appearance, after all), but the New York State DMV will take away your license for at least 90 days. From there, you will have to coordinate with an ignition interlock service provider to fulfill any requirement that the New York DMV may hand to you, the state your DWI occurred in may have, or a combination of both.

That may seem like a lot to go through after a DWI in any state, but, since New York has some of the toughest requirements after an in-state drunk driving conviction, you’re probably lucky to just have a license suspension.

Even though different states have different DWI laws, your home state can (and will) impose its own set of requirements if you’re guilty, just like New York does. That means that even when you’re on vacation, on a business trip or visiting family, your DWI will cross state lines and you’ll have both states “on your case” if you drink and drive. When you consider the difficulties of a drunk driving conviction in your state, or in any state, it’s just easier to always stay sober when driving, no matter where you are.

6 Month Rule: Missouri Ignition Interlock Service Violations

Missouri won't let you miss an IID service appointment Missouri is a state that believes in second chances, especially after a drunk driving conviction. The Missouri ignition interlock program is proof of this belief, especially when you think about all of the benefits an ignition interlock device (IID)  allows for both the DUI offender and the other drivers on the road. Unfortunately, even with a second chance, some drunk driving offenders may have trouble following the “rules of the road” when it comes to an IID, and not necessarily the part about not drinking before driving. Sometimes, those ignition interlock service appointments are the problem, which becomes, well… a problem… for the DUI offender.

Missouri ignition interlock laws expect a DUI/DWI offender to use their device each time they drive their vehicle. It’s also expected that the offender won’t drive any other vehicles that don’t have an interlock, and that they’re sober when driving. If not, the offender is subject to various ignition interlock violation penalties, from an extension of the ignition interlock time requirement to a complete removal of the device and license suspension or revocation. But, skipping or missing an ignition interlock service appointment is also a violation, with a mandatory six-month extension of the interlock requirement.

The reason is simple – a DUI offender is given a second chance to keep driving with an IID, but without the proof of sober driving that is shown during service appointments, there’s no evidence of sober driving. So, that ignition interlock violation nets the offender another six months to prove their sobriety when driving… just another one of those “second chances” that Missouri hands out to drunk drivers.

A second chance for a better future after a DUI in Missouri is more than just an ignition interlock requirement. It is a full commitment to sober driving without any violations or the harsher consequences those bring. That second chance is pretty easy, too: you just have to show up (to your service appointments) and do the right thing (drive sober) the rest of the time!

Got BAC? The Blood Alcohol Level for DUI

Blood Alcohol Level for DUIEveryone knows that drinking and driving is dangerous, and that it is illegal. That’s why there are DUI courts, ignition interlock devices and sober ride services. But, when you have one drink, there’s a lot less danger than when you’ve had a whole six-pack of beer. The difference between the two situations can be measured in your blood alcohol level or blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and that’s the same measurement used to charge you with a DUI.

The blood alcohol level for a DUI in all 50 states is .08 BAC. The number of drinks it takes to get there can vary under different circumstances, like gender or body weight, so one person may be able to drink more without being “drunk” while another can have just one drink for a “buzz” to happen. However, to make DUI laws fair for everyone, the .08 BAC blood alcohol level is the standard line between a criminal conviction, ignition interlock requirement, and even more dangerous risks.

That does not mean that if your blood alcohol level is less than .08 BAC that you won’t be charged with drunk driving. Plenty of states also have laws that can apply to a person with a “buzz” who is driving dangerously, meaning that if your blood alcohol level is between .05 and .08 BAC, you could still be convicted of drunk driving. There are also laws for “hardcore” blood alcohol levels that are typically around twice the legal limit.

Even with the differences in blood alcohol levels, the smartest way to stay out of DUI trouble is to not drink and drive, at all. Since all 50 states follow the .08 BAC rule for a DUI and you’re looking at more than just ignition interlock troubles, keeping your blood alcohol level at zero when driving is your safest bet.

Out of State with an Ignition Interlock?

out-of-state-ignition-interlockAn ignition interlock is a great way to keep driving after you’ve been convicted of a DUI. Since you’re able to drive, you can easily be in a situation where you’re outside of your home state. That’s okay, your ignition interlock isn’t there to keep you local, but, it is still there to keep you sober when driving… no matter which roads you’re driving on.

Whether you’re driving out of state for work, or for personal reasons, you are still required to test your breath as normal. Anytime you don’t test, the device will work the very same way it does in your own driveway: your car won’t start. If you get a prompt for a rolling re-test as you cross a state line, you still have to blow into the device to keep yourself in compliance.

If you live in one state but you were convicted of a DUI in another state and have an ignition interlock requirement, you still have to have the device installed. States share information about drunk driving convictions and/or license suspensions and restrictions, so if you’re required to have an interlock in one state, you can bet your home state will be informed. The good news is that there are ignition interlock service providers across the country that can help coordinate an out-of-state interlock requirement so you are able to get back on the road to a better future.

An ignition interlock requirement is a responsibility that helps you recover after a DUI. No matter how far you drive or where you may have gotten your conviction, your top priority should always be to remain compliant and never drive if you’ve been drinking.

Preventing DWI in New York’s Suffolk & Nassau Counties

DWI in New YorkEven though New York State is a leader in preventing DWIs across the country, it is still far too common to read about another drunk driver wreaking havoc upon the state’s roads. Even with a wide range of penalties for DWI across the state, the truth is that when there are less public transportation options (like those in New York City) more people are likely to drive home after a night of drinking. Long Island, for example, still has a high rate of drunk drivers on the Suffolk and Nassau county roads, despite continued efforts by police to stop drunk drivers with saturation patrols and community awareness campaigns.

New York DWI law is tough for a reason – drunk driving is a completely preventable crime. Even without the public transportation options available in most urban areas, there are still plenty of resources to get home safely and not face the consequences of a DWI. Instead of the court fines and costs, a possible felony conviction and the commitment to an ignition interlock, anyone can ask a sober friend for a ride home, call a taxi or other sober ride service. Yet, despite the strict consequences of a DWI in New York, the message still hasn’t hit home… or it doesn’t hit until its much too late.

But, really, it is up to New York residents in all counties to make the right choice when it comes to driving while intoxicated. Preventing drinking and driving in New York starts with refusing to ever drive if you’ve been drinking. It means that you don’t allow friends to risk a DWI, either. Making safe choices for yourself keeps the rest of your community safe, as well. New York is far from the most dangerous DWI state in the U.S., but when there’s even one death that results from a drunk driver, that is one too many.