Losing your license for a year can be devastating for many drivers in North Carolina who need to be able to drive to get to work, take kids to school, go to doctors' appointments, or buy groceries. However, the good news is that a driver convicted of driving while impaired (DWI) may still be able to get limited driving privileges.
An ignition interlock restriction may allow drivers to get limited driving privileges before the end of the suspension to include driving for the purposes of employment, court-ordered treatment, religious worship, and medical care.
What is an Ignition Interlock Device?
An ignition interlock device (IID) is a device that is attached to the vehicle's ignition system. Before the vehicle can start, the driver needs to blow a breath sample into the machine. If the test sample comes back clear, the vehicle can start. The device will also require continued breath test samples in order to continue operating.
Who is Eligible for an Interlock Device?
Defendants who were convicted of certain impaired driving offenses may be required to get an IID installed in order to have their limited driving privileges reinstated. This includes:
- DWI with an alcohol concentration of 0.15% or higher BAC,
- Multiple DWIs within the prior 7 years, or
- Sentencing to Aggravated Level One punishment.
After serving out the minimum suspension period, a driver can have limited driving privileges restored after installing the IID. The driver is then required to only operate a vehicle equipped with the IID. The IID restriction is required for one-year for a one-year license suspension.
Can you Bypass the Ignition Interlock Device?
There are a lot of false claims out there about how to “trick” an ignition interlock device. Most of these claims do not work and trying them could result in a violation that is reported to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Attempting to bypass the device, deactivate the device, or having someone else blow a breath sample into the device can result in a violation. Violating the IID restrictions is a criminal offense and may also result in a license suspension.
Do I have to pay for an IID after a DWI?
Generally, the driver is required to pay for the costs of installation and monitoring or calibration of the device. There are a few interlock device providers in North Carolina, including:
- Alcolock NC Inc.
- Monitech Inc.
- Smart Start Inc.
However, if the driver is not able to afford the IID installation and monitoring, the driver may be able to submit an Affidavit of Indigence and the DMV can waive the ignition interlock installation.
Driving Privileges After a DWI in North Carolina
The best way to avoid losing your driving privileges after a DWI arrest is to avoid a conviction in the first place. There may be a number of defenses to your DWI case from the traffic stop to chemical testing. If you have been arrested for a DWI in North Carolina, act fast to preserve your chance to challenge the administrative license suspension.
At Caulder & Valentine Law Firm, PLLC, we have helped drivers and their families deal with criminal driving charges to stay out of jail and keep their driver's license. Contact us today in Shelby for a consultation.