Understanding Ignition Interlock Device Laws in Washington State

An ignition interlock device is a type of instrument, installed in vehicles, which you must blow into prior to starting your vehicle. If your breath alcohol content or BAC is over .025, then you will be unable to start your vehicle, until the level reaches this amount. These devices are installed in peoples cars who have been convicted of certain crimes adherent to ignition interlock laws in Washington State.

In order to reinstate your drivers license after conviction of certain driving offenses, you must have this device installed in your automobile. Also, you must adhere to all ignition interlock laws or the sentence could be extended, or revoked and you may end up having to serve time in prison. The types of convictions that require ignition interlock devices include any type of conviction, which involves an alcohol or substance abuse related DUI or in cases of physical control of a motor vehicle. These instruments will also be required in some convictions of reckless and negligent driving, which is determined by the ignition interlock laws in Washington State.

An attorney who specializes in ignition interlock laws may help you in understanding the different punishments for the conviction you receive. For example, if you are convicted of reckless or negligent driving the ignition interlock laws in Washington State require you have the device in your vehicle for at least six months. However, if you are convicted or a DUI or Physical Control of a vehicle the sentence can be as follows in Washington State: for a first offense, at least one year of using an IID, second offense is at least five years and for three or more offenses, the sentence can be 10 years or more.

Having the Ignition Interlock Device Removed

In order to be eligible to have the IID removed from your vehicle, you must meet certain requirements for a period of at least four months. If you break any of these requirements then you will not be eligible to have it removed. The following acts can not be committed:

  • Have a breath alcohol content of .04 and tried to start your vehicle
  • Did not adhere to the maintenance or repair schedule for the device
  • Did not take or did not pass a required test

An Attorneys Role in Ignition Interlock Cases

Prior to having an ignition interlock device installed in your car, you should consult with your attorney. They can help you understand the pros and cons of having this instrument in your vehicle. By having an IID installed the convicted party gives up certain rights. For example, once you install this instrument, you can not challenge any administrative action taken against you by the Department of Licensing. This includes any current and future actions they may take against you. Also, by giving up this right, you may be required to carry high-risk insurance for up to three years, which is substantially more expensive than regular insurance.

In any case where an IID is involved, you may think that being able to drive is more important than having the instrument in your car. However, always consult with your attorney to ensure you are making the best decision for your particular situation. Washington State has certain laws, which have been established to regulate the use, installation and sentence period of people who must use an IID. Adhering to these laws is essential to getting your license and life back to normal.