What you should know about Arizona’s ignition interlock device program

All convicted DUI offenders in Arizona must use interlock devices, which come with certain regulations.

People who make the decision to drive while intoxicated run the risk of getting pulled over, charged and convicted of drunk driving. Arizona has some of the strictest DUI penalties in the country, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, including a rule requiring all convicted drunk drivers to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. Not only do these devices help prevent drunk drivers from reoffending, ignition interlock devices also allow DUI offenders certain driving privileges that they may not have had otherwise. Rather than be stranded with a suspended driver's license, DUI offenders with an IID are able to drive to school, work, doctors' appointments, counseling and other necessary destinations.

How do IIDs work?

Interlock devices are wired directly into a vehicle's ignition system, and essentially renders the vehicle useless until the driver submits a clean breath sample. When the driver blows into a tube that is connected to a dashboard monitor, the device determines his or her blood alcohol content level. If the BAC is below a preset limit, which is usually 0.02 percent, the vehicle will start. The driver is then prompted to blow into the tube periodically throughout the drive in order to keep the car going. Drivers who blow a breath sample that registers over the preset limit will have to wait for a period of time before they are able to attempt another startup.

Arizona guidelines

People who have IIDs installed in their vehicles must follow certain rules and guidelines, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. DUI offenders must take their vehicles equipped with interlock devices in for a maintenance appointment every 30 days for the first three months, and then at scheduled times after that. At this appointment, the devices are calibrated and checked to make sure that they are working properly.

All of the data that is stored within the device, including startup attempts, BAC levels, lockouts and signs of tampering, is downloaded and sent to officials during the appointment as well. Drivers who fail to meet the interlock device requirements may have additional time added on to their restricted driving period.

Seeking the assistance of an attorney

A DUI can have major consequences on a person's life. Not only can a DUI make it difficult for you to find a job in certain industries, but it can also influence your ability to get a professional license and financial funding. If you have been charged with a DUI in Arizona, you may want to seek the assistance of a criminal defense attorney. A lawyer may help to answer your questions and guide you in the right direction.