An ignition interlock device is a device installed in a vehicle which prevents the car from operating until the driver has submitted to an in-vehicle breathalyzer test. There are strict rules for ignition interlock devices, many of which are outlined in Alabama Statute section 32-5A-191.4. Those who must have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles are required to pay for the devices and the law prohibits anyone from blowing into the device for the driver.
Ignition interlock devices can be costly, are burdensome to use, and may not have any long-term impact on actually reducing drunk driving. Despite this, Alabama.com reported the state of Alabama went "all-in" on ignition interlock devices.
If you fit the criteria set forth by law, you will be required to have this device installed on your car after a DUI conviction. If you do not want the monthly cost, hassle, and embarrassment of an ignition interlock device, you need to develop the right legal strategy to try to avoid conviction.
Ignition interlock devices are required for DUI defendants in Alabama if:
- You have had a DUI within five years prior to the current drunk driving offense you are convicted of.
- Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .15 or greater.
- You refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test.
- You get a DUI conviction and you had a person in the car with you who was under the age of 14 when you were driving impaired.
- You are involved in an accident and you cause someone to suffer injury when you are impaired driving.
You will need to have the ignition interlock device installed in your car following the suspension of your license if you meet these criteria. Typically, the length of time you must have the ignition interlock device installed is six months. There is an initial installation fee for the device and there is another monthly fee, which is generally around $75 per month as of 2017. The required time you must have the device in your car could be longer under certain circumstances. The device typically has to be recalibrate on a monthly basis by the service provider of the ignition interlock device.
Ignition interlock devices were required in just a few states in 2006, but Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other advocacy groups began aggressively campaigning for their use and 45 states have at least some requirements for mandatory ignition interlock devices.
Despite this pervasive use, studies have shown that DUI re-arrest rates go back to normal as soon as the ignition interlock device is removed, despite dropping slightly during the time the device is on the car. Since there is no long-term reduction in DUI arrests because of ignition interlock devices, there are arguments that it would be better to consider alternative approaches, such as more treatment solutions, rather than having DUI offenders waste time and money on having this device installed and using it for months.