In 2014, four states passed new legislation to strengthen laws punishing intoxicated drivers. Alabama was one of the four, along with Mississippi, New Hampshire and Delaware. The new law passed in Alabama was SB 319, which was authored by Senator Bill Holtzclaw and Representative Allen Farley.
SB 319 requires all drivers convicted of intoxicated driving to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in their vehicles, even for first-time offenders. Alabama became the 21st state in the country to require ignition interlock devices for all convicted drunk driving offenders, and the bill had strong support from leadership in both the Senate and the House.
With the passage of SB 319, conviction for DUI in Alabama became even more costly and burdensome for a defendant who is found guilty.
Understanding Alabama's Ignition Interlock Requirements
Prior to the passage of the new law in 2014, individuals convicted of drunk driving in Alabama were required to have an ignition interlock device installed after a first offense only if they had a blood-alcohol concentration of .15 or higher; if they had a child under 14 in the car with them; if they refused a breath test; or if they were involved in an accident that caused injury.
Now, all offenders must have an IID installed in their car if their BAC is .08 or greater, even for a first offense. An ignition interlock device is wired into the ignition of a vehicle. Before the car can be started, the driver must blow into the device. If any measurable amount of alcohol is detected, the car will not start.
Drivers must pay to have the device installed in their vehicle and must use it for six months after their conviction for drunk driving. According to the Alabama Department of Forensic Service, drivers with an IID on their vehicle must visit an ignition service center every 30 days while the device is on their vehicle. The IID must be serviced by an ignition interlock technician, who will inspect the vehicle and the wiring of the device. The service center will also download and store data that the device collects and will report any violations, including:
- Tampering of the device.
- A BAC of .020 or higher recorded four or more times during the monthly reporting period.
- Failure to comply with the 30-day servicing requirement.
All devices installed on vehicles must be approved by the Alabama Department of Forensic Science. The cost associated with the initial installation of the device may run between $50 and $200 or more. There is a monthly rental fee that is generally between $50 and $100 and you will also have to pay the fee for maintaining and calibrating the device as well as for the 30-day service visits.
The hassle and expense of an ignition interlock device cannot be avoided once convicted of a drunk driving offense under Alabama's new law. Speaking with an attorney before conviction about your options is essential.
Contact Barclay Law at 866-584-1023 to schedule a consultation with a DUI defense lawyer in Birmingham, Alabama. Serving South Side, Titusville, Red Mountain, Woodlawn, Ensley and surrounding areas.