Not only does driving while intoxicated endanger the lives of other motorists on the road, but people who drink and drive may find themselves facing harsh penalties if convicted of a DUI in Florida. In addition to costly fines and driver’s license suspension, DUI offenders may be ordered to install an ignition interlock device on all of their vehicles.
How do interlock devices work?
These small breath test devices render a person’s car useless if he or she has a blood alcohol content level that measures higher than the preset limit, which is 0.025 percent in Florida. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, a breath sample is needed to initially start the vehicle. A rolling retest, or another breath test submitted while the car is in motion, is required five minutes after the car is started and then periodically while the driver is operating the vehicle. If a breath sample is not submitted or if it has a BAC level that measures higher than 0.025 percent, the driver will have three minutes before the vehicle alarm will alert them to pull over and turn off the car.
Drivers are required to bring their interlock devices in for a monthly maintenance appointment, where the devices are calibrated and tested for accuracy.
Interlock device requirements
According to Florida statute, people who have been convicted of a DUI may be required to use an interlock device for a specified amount of time. This includes:
- First DUI offense: The judge presiding over the case can choose whether or not to order use of an interlock device, and the amount of time the offender must use it.
- First DUI offense with a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher, or if a minor is present in the vehicle: IID use for at least six months.
- Second DUI offense: IID use for at least one year.
- Second DUI offense with a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher, or if a minor is present in the vehicle: IID use for at least two years.
- Third DUI offense: IID use for at least two years.
- Four or more offenses: IID use for at least five years.
Once the driver is ordered to have an IID installed, they must go through a state-approved interlock device company and pay for all costs associated with installing and maintaining the device.
Partnering with a defense attorney
A DUI conviction can wreak havoc on one’s life. People who are convicted of a DUI may have difficulty obtaining a professional license, finding employment in certain industries, obtaining student loans or reinstating their driver’s license. A criminal defense attorney who understands Florida’s unique DUI laws can help you create a strong defense to fight your DUI charges.