A driving under the influence (DUI) conviction in Alabama can come with severe penalties that impact your life in multiple ways. You could lose your job and have to pay thousands of dollars in fines. You may have to spend time behind bars. A judge may also order you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) inside your vehicle to prevent further drunk driving incidents. All 50 states have laws related to IIDs. In Alabama, the law imposes mandatory interlock provisions for all drunk driving offenses.

How Does an Ignition Interlock Device Work?

In 2012, Alabama passed an ignition interlock law that made it mandatory for all people who receive DUI convictions to install IIDs in their vehicles. Using an IID is often a way for defendants to reduce the amount of time on a driver’s license suspension or revocation. An ignition interlock device works by analyzing a driver’s breath sample for alcohol content. If the IID detects alcohol on the driver’s breath, the engine of the vehicle will not start. IIDs are a way of preventing a convicted drunk driver from repeating their mistakes and endangering others on the road. Drunk driving can lead to car accidents resulting in catastrophic injuries.

Upon conviction for a driving under the influence charge, a judge will sign an order for the IID and forward it to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. You must purchase the IID and pay for its installation out of pocket. Then, you must show the agency you installed the mandatory device and pay $150 for an IID-restricted driver’s license. You must then continue to use the IID in the vehicle until the end of the required time.

What Happens if My Breath Sample Fails?

Adjusting to an ignition interlock device in your vehicle can be difficult. Before you can drive, you must blow a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level below 0.02%. Even one glass of wine could be enough to lead to a failed breath test. If you blow a higher number, the device will record this readout and stop your engine from starting. You must wait for a few minutes and try the test again. If you fail again, you will need to wait even longer to try for a third time. If you fail your breath test too many times in a month, a judge may order a longer IID period.

If you commit a DUI crime with an interlock device in your vehicle, a judge will automatically extend your IID period by six months. You may also face additional penalties if you violate the ignition interlock law. A violation is four or more breath samples at or above 0.02% BAC within one month, unless a subsequent sample performed within 10 minutes of the first registers a lower BAC. Tampering with the IID or trying to bypass it is also a violation.

All states require rolling IID checks, or blowing into the device while driving. If you fail a breath test while driving, your engine will not automatically stop. Instead, your alarm will sound and your lights will flash until you pull over and shut the car off. You must then submit and pass another test before your vehicle will start. In some cases, a judge may make you install a camera to make sure it is you blowing into the device and not someone else.

When Does the Law Dictate I Need to Install an IID?

Alabama is one of several states that make IIDs mandatory for all driving under the influence convictions. A judge will order the IID as part of your DUI sentence. The amount of time you have to leave the ignition interlock device in your vehicle depends on your offense. If your BAC was less than 0.15% and it was your first offense, you must keep the IID for 90 days.

If your BAC was over 0.15% for a first offense, the IID must remain for one year. A second DUI conviction comes with a two-year IID term, the third has a three-year term and the fourth has a four-year term. Except on a first conviction, if you refuse to take a Breathalyzer test during a DUI stop, the IID term will automatically extend one year. These IID terms apply to all DUI convictions after July 1st, 2018 in Alabama.

If you were involved in an accident with a drunk driver, our Huntsville personal injury attorneys can guide you through the legal process and hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.