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Is an Ignition Interlock Device Required After an Arizona DUI?

An arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) can affect your life in many ways. If you have been accused of operating a motor vehicle while your blood alcohol content (BAC) was over the legal limit or while you were under the influence of drugs, you could face several different penalties. If you are convicted of DUI, you may be required to pay significant fines, and you could be sentenced to jail. A conviction will also result in the suspension of your driver’s license for at least 90 days, and potentially longer depending on the circumstances of your case.

Even after you have dealt with the penalties stemming directly from a DUI conviction, you may still need to meet certain requirements in order to maintain your driving privileges. One requirement that applies for people convicted of DUI in Arizona is the use of an ignition interlock device (IID). Understanding exactly what these devices are, how they are used, and what restrictions may apply will be crucial to ensure that you will be able to drive legally in the future.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

When a person has been convicted of DUI, there is a concern that they will engage in drunk or intoxicated driving again in the future. To help limit this possibility, the state of Arizona requires drivers who have been convicted of DUI to install devices in their vehicles that will monitor their blood alcohol content. These devices connect to a vehicle’s ignition, and they will lock a driver out of starting their car if they cannot demonstrate that they are not intoxicated. Thus, they are known as ignition interlock devices.

An ignition interlock device is similar to a breathalyzer, and it measures the alcohol in a breath sample provided by a driver. When a vehicle is equipped with an IID, the driver will be required to blow into the device, and their car will only start if their BAC is below a certain limit. In Arizona, this limit is set at .02 percent for drivers who are over the age of 21. 

In addition to providing a breath sample before initially starting a car, a driver will periodically be required to provide breath samples while driving. These are known as “rolling retests.” The device also contains a camera that takes a picture of the driver to ensure that they are the person providing the breath sample.

An IID must be installed and calibrated by an approved provider. It will also need to be regularly maintained by the provider. Typically, a driver will be required to visit the provider every 90 days to have the device checked and recalibrated. The driver will be responsible for paying any installation or maintenance fees.

IID Requirements in Arizona

Arizona law requires the use of an ignition interlock device by anyone who has been convicted of DUI, aggravated DUI, or extreme DUI. This requirement will go into effect after a person completes a period of license suspension and seeks to have their license reinstated. 

An IID must be installed on any vehicle that a person will drive, including their personal vehicle(s) or any vehicle they drive for work. A person’s driver’s license cannot be reinstated until they provide proof that they have installed an IID in each vehicle they will be operating. Ongoing proof of compliance will need to be provided every 90 days, including proof that an IID has been properly maintained and calibrated.

The amount of time that an IID will be required will depend on the specific DUI charges. In most first-time or second-time DUI cases, an IID must be used for one year. If a person was convicted of extreme DUI in which they had a blood alcohol content of .20 percent or more, they will be required to use an IID for 18 months. An IID must be used for two years if a person was convicted of one of the following offenses:

  • Extreme DUI with a BAC of .20 percent or more after being convicted of a previous DUI offense within the past seven years.
  • DUI while a person’s license was suspended or revoked for a previous DUI charge.
  • A third DUI conviction within seven years.
  • DUI while a person is subject to an IID requirement.
  • DUI while driving the wrong way on a highway.
  • Extreme DUI with a BAC of at least .15 percent while a child under the age of 15 was in the vehicle.

IID Violations

During the period when an ignition interlock device is installed in their vehicle, a driver will need to be sure to provide breath samples when required and avoid tampering or interfering with the device. Failure to meet these requirements can result in violations that could extend the amount of time that an IID will be required, and in some cases, a person’s driver’s license may be suspended.

An IID will record information about all breath samples given, and any violations will be reported to Arizona’s Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). If a driver who is over the age of 21 fails two breath tests by having a BAC over .02 percent at any time when they are required to use an IID, this will be considered a violation. For drivers under the age of 21, any amount of alcohol in their breath will prevent their vehicle from starting, and a single failed test will trigger a violation. These violations will result in the extension of the ignition interlock device requirement for six months.

Six-month extensions may also be imposed if a driver fails to complete three consecutive rolling retests when driving. Any attempts to tamper with an IID, including disconnecting the device, covering the camera, or having another person provide a breath sample, will also lead to a six-month extension. 

Removing an IID from a vehicle before the end of the required period or failing to have a device calibrated every 90 days will lead to a suspension of a person’s driver’s license, and their required IID period will start over. If a person drives a vehicle that is not equipped with an IID during the period when an IID is required, their ignition interlock device period will be extended by one year.

Contact a Tuscon DUI Defense Attorney

There are many consequences that may apply following a DUI arrest. Ideally, you will want to take steps to avoid these penalties by defending against DUI charges and avoiding a conviction. You can do so with the help of a skilled Tucson DUI defense lawyer who can advise you of your options and provide you with representation during legal proceedings. An attorney can also help you address any concerns related to ignition interlock devices, including responding to violations that could result in the suspension of your driver’s license or other penalties. With legal help from a qualified attorney, you can take steps to maintain your driving privileges and avoid any future legal consequences.