Ignition Interlock After a DWI in North Carolina

Posted by Josh Valentine | Aug 20, 2019

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.

About the Author

Josh Valentine

You could say Josh has a God-given ability for sustaining long-term relationships. He and his wife first met in elementary school and went to Gardner Webb University (GWU) together, where they tied for number 1 in their class. Then, they both started law school on the same day of their graduation and got married during their first semester. He has also known his law partner Blake Caulder since Kindergarten. Theirs is the perfect partnership. “He’s the brake; I am the accelerator,” Josh says. Both Josh and his wife attended an innovative program at Charlotte Law School that allowed them to complete law school in two years instead of the typical three. His wife graduated and passed the North Carolina bar at age 20, becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the state. He readily admits she’s smarter than him. Of course, Josh went on to pass the North Carolina State Bar himself and later the South Carolina State Bar. While in school, he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and received accolades like Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society membership, Order of the Crown, Pro Bono Honors, CALI Awards (highest grade). In his career as a lawyer, he has been admitted to the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, and completed training for DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Josh has also been named to the Top 40 Under 40 for Criminal Defense by The National Trial Lawyers, the Business North Carolina 2019 Legal Elite for Criminal Defense, and the 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). Community involvement has been important to Josh all his life. In high school, he participated in building a Holocaust museum that has become internationally regarded. He and his wife are actively engaged in animal rescue, which currently means seven cats and two kittens. He served in prison ministry and assisted with fundraiser banquets there, and he provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to those in need. As if all of that weren’t enough, Josh also mentors high risk youth and helps with his church’s youth group. He participates in other community volunteer projects involving construction, remodeling, drywall, painting, and landscaping. He’s an active student of the Bible and has traveled to Israel, Brazil, and Europe for mission work. No one can say Josh isn’t a well-rounded individual. In his spare time, he likes to play softball, basketball, and tennis, and he can play the piano and trombone. Sometimes on weekends, believe it or not, he enjoys pouring and finishing concrete with friends who own a concrete and grading business. In his law practice, Josh has made it a point to develop positive relationships with officers, clerks, and district attorneys, which has proven invaluable in delivering positive results for his clients. It’s important to him to both listen to his clients and fight for them. Law enforcement officers have important responsibilities to keep our communities safe and uphold the law, but one of the responsibilities of attorneys is to make sure officers do their job correctly. Josh considers it his job to hold them accountable for their actions. Josh is a person of deep faith. He knows that the established order of our universe and strength of America’s Judeo-Christian influenced court system is built on God’s word. His passion to serve each client with innovation, excellence and integrity is a byproduct of his faith. When asked why he became a lawyer, Josh says, “All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits, and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person who was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer. So that’s why I became an attorney. I understand what you are going through, and I’m here to help you. Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life.” Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar