What Are Ignition Interlock Devices?

October 2, 2019

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Texas is a serious offense that can carry civil, administrative, and criminal penalties. It is vital to know the DWI laws and regulations in the state and be aware of your rights in case you face a DWI charge.

A common legal requirement following a DWI conviction is the installation of a car breathalyzer, technically known as an ignition interlock device. Judges impose this requirement to create a deterrent against repeated drunk driving behavior. This article will describe ignition interlock devices and outline the laws in Texas related to them. 

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device is essentially a portable breathalyzer that integrates with your car. This handheld device will easily fit in the central console, and it includes a sufficiently long relay cord to let you move it as needed around your front seat. The unit typically incorporates a camera, which will be set up by a certified installer on the visor. The two primary jobs of the ignition interlock device include preventing an individual from operating a vehicle while intoxicated and ensuring their continued sobriety while driving.

 what is an ignition interlock deviceIgnition Interlock Device Laws in Texas

According to technical experts, these devices are quite advanced, and it is difficult to deceive or bypass the system. The device features anti-circumvention features, such as cell phone recognition and onboard cameras. This equipment helps ensure that an intoxicated person does not try to ask a sober friend to blow into the device to start the car. Texas ignition interlock devices laws are strict and impose harsh penalties for any attempt to trick or manipulate the system. 

How Does an Ignition Interlock Device Work?

Each time you sit behind the wheel in a vehicle with an ignition interlock device, you will have to provide a breath specimen by blowing into the mouthpiece. You will be able to start the car only if you clear this breath test. By utilizing sophisticated fuel cell technology, these devices can accurately measure the percentage of alcohol in your breath. If the device detects that the alcohol level in your breath exceeds the permissible limit of 0.08 percent, your vehicle will not start. You will only be able to turn on the ignition and start the car if your breath specimen returns a Breath Alcohol Concentration (BrAC) under the permissible limit. 

Ensuring Continued Sobriety While the Car Is Running

After your car starts, the pre-programmed system of the ignition interlock device will require you to provide periodic breath specimens throughout the trip. This requirement ensures that you do not use a sober individual’s assistance to start the car while continue driving yourself with an illegal BAC limit. 

ignition interlock device lawsThe system manufacturer will usually allow you four to six minutes to accomplish the retest once prompted. The time allowance is meant to ensure that you can safely pull over your vehicle to the roadside if required or be cautious if driving in hazardous road conditions. Only a court order can remove an ignition interlock device in Texas.

An Attorney Can Help You with Ignition Interlock Devices

If you are struggling with the laws in Texas pertaining to ignition interlock devices, hire an experienced and professional attorney to help you navigate the requirements, expenses, and maintenance processes associated with these devices. Flood and Associates employs a team of dedicated DWI defense attorneys that are knowledgeable about ignition interlock devices, as well as the circumstances leading to their installation. An arrest doesn’t mean you are guilty. Your case can be fought, and many times, it can be won. Contact us 24/7, 365 at 713-224-5529 for a free case review.


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