What is an Ignition Interlock Device? Is One Required After a DWI Conviction?

In North Carolina, an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is only required for a driver that is convicted of DWI with a 0.15% BAC or higher or if the driver has had more than one DWI offense within 7 years.

ignition interlock device

What is an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)?

An IID is a device that is similar to a breathalyzer that is installed in your vehicle. The purpose of an IID is to deter the driver of the vehicle from drinking and driving. The IID does this by requiring the driver to blow into the device before starting the vehicle. If the breath sample from the driver shows a higher alcohol level than the pre-programmed level that is allowed in the IID, the IID prevents the vehicle from starting.

Also, most IIDs require the driver to blow into the IID while the vehicle is in motion. If the result from the breath sample exceeds the pre-programmed level, the IID will not turn off the engine while the vehicle is in motion, but the device will give the driver a signal to stop. Every time the driver blows into the IID, the results from the breath samples are logged into the device and either sent to the department that ordered the device to be installed immediately or on a monthly basis.

North Carolina lists three different approved IID providers: Smart Start, Inc. Monitech, Inc., and Alcolock NC, Inc. These providers all charge around $75 per month for the IID service. However, IID’s do have additional costs associated with them. The most common costs are installation costs, mechanic override costs, service call costs, and towing costs. Installation costs occur when the IID provider installs the IID into your vehicle.

Mechanic override costs may occur if you have problems with your vehicle (that are unrelated to the IID) while the IID is installed and you have to take your vehicle to a mechanic. In order for the mechanic to repair your car and test to see if it is working, he will need a code from the IID provider that will override the IID so the mechanic will not have to blow into the device each time he wants to start the vehicle. The IID provider will charge a fee for providing this code to the mechanic. A service call cost may be incurred if the IID malfunctions and locks the ignition in your vehicle when you try to start it.

If this happens and your IID provider offers on-site service, they will come to you and unlock the ignition wherever the car has been locked. If your provider does not offer on-site service, then you will have to pay to have the vehicle towed to the IID provider so that they can fix the issue with your IID.

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