Do I Need an Ignition Interlock Device After a DWI Conviction?

DWI convictions have multiple repercussions. One of the most common consequences of a DWI conviction is a license suspension. There are some types of DWI convictions that require the driver to have an ignition interlock device (also called Blow and Go) in their car before their driver's license may be restored.

What is an Ignition Interlock?

An ignition interlock is a device that measures blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and electronically records the result. A driver must blow into the ignition interlock in order to start their vehicle. If their BAC registers over a certain amount the vehicle will not start. The ignition interlock also requires random breath samples while you are driving. If you fail to provide a sample or if your BAC has a positive reading your car will shut down (called a lockout). Additionally, drivers are required to have monthly maintenance appointments for their Blow and Go. All violations of the Blow and Go are sent to the North Carolina DMV. The ignition interlock can cause a wave of problems for drivers who need them. For example, certain foods and drinks have a tendency to deliver false positives to the interlock device. Another issue with the device is that any person who wishes to drive a car with the device installed must provide a breath sample to the device for the car to start. For many, this is frustrating, demeaning, and embarrassing. A person who needs a Blow and Go cannot legally drive a car without the device installed. If a person drives any car without the device installed it is considered driving with a revoked license.

When do I Need the Blow and Go?

The North Carolina DMV requires an ignition interlock device for drivers whose licenses are restored after a DWI if:

  • The person had an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more; or
  • The person has been convicted of another offense involving impaired driving, which occurred within seven years of the offense for which the person’s license is revoked; or
  • The person was sentenced at Aggravated Level One.

This can be especially problematic if you are required to have an ignition interlock but do not own a car. Unfortunately you would still have to pay for the service and show proof of compliance in order to have your license restored.

How Much does the Ignition Interlock Cost?

There are three major companies who can install the Blow and Go in your car. Each has their own pricing structure ranging from $75.00-$150.00. Fortunately for you, our office provides each of our clients with a coupon for free installation. A person with a Blow and Go pays for the device monthly in addition to maintenance and service fees. A person will also have to pay a fee for each lockout in order to restart their car.

Interlock Violations

Violations of your ignition interlock device can cause your limited driving privilege to be revoked. Before your limited driving privilege is revoked you are entitled to a violation hearing. Always keep a notebook in your car to record the date and time of any false positives. Additionally, its a good idea to write down what things you've consumed (IE food and drinks) that may have resulted in the false positive. One helpful tip is not to drive your car immediately after brushing your teeth, using mouthwash, or chewing gum. Missing your maintenance appointment will also cause a violation and a lockout.

How Long do I Need to Have the Blow and Go Installed?

The length of time you must have the device installed depends on your license suspension.

Length of License Suspension Length of Time Needed for Ignition Interlock Device
One year One year
Four years Three years
Permanent suspension Seven years

If you have questions about restoring your driving privileges after a conviction for driving while impaired contact our office for a free consultation.

About Ryan Stowe

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Ryan Stowe is the principal attorney at Stowe Law Firm, PLLC. Mr. Stowe is proud to be practicing in his hometown of Salisbury, NC, and is a first generation Rowan County attorney. Mr. Stowe takes pride in being a criminal defense attorney. He focuse…

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