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  • What You Need to Know About Ignition Interlock Devices Following a DUI Conviction

    Posted on by JACK MKHITARIAN

    Ignition interlock device after a DUI.The consequences of a New Mexico DUI can be devastating. If you are convicted of a DUI, you face hefty fines and possible probation or jail time. However, there are other collateral consequences of a conviction. For example, you will also likely need to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle before you can drive again.

    An ignition interlock device is a small machine that you install next to your steering wheel. Before you can start your car, you must provide a breath sample by blowing into the device. At that time, the device will take a picture of the driver to make sure that they are the person giving the sample. If there is any hint of alcohol on your breath, the car will not start. And, depending on the jurisdiction, the device may notify your probation officer. At the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we represent clients facing New Mexico DUI charges, helping them defend their freedom and keep their driver’s license.

    Will I Need to Install an Ignition Interlock Device?

    The court system uses ignition interlock devices to ensure that someone who drove under the influence does not do it again. You do not necessarily need to install an interlock if the police charge you with a DUI. The requirement kicks in if you plead guilty or a jury finds you guilty of DUI. Installing an ignition interlock device would then be a part of your sentence.

    How Long Will the Device Remain in My Car?

    If you are convicted of a New Mexico DUI offense, you will need to install an ignition interlock on your car. The length of time you must keep the device installed varies, depending on whether you have a prior conviction for DUI.

    • First offense – One year;
    • Second offense – Two years;
    • Third offense – Three years; and
    • Fourth and subsequent offenses – Lifetime.

    If you are subject to an ignition interlock requirement, any car you drive must have a device installed. If you have more than one vehicle, the court will only require you to install the device on one of your cars. However, you cannot drive a car that doesn’t have the device installed. If you do not own a vehicle but plan to drive someone else’s car, you can arrange to install the device on that car. However, you will need the vehicle owner’s consent. And, of course, if you do not have a car, you don’t need to worry about the requirement until you begin to drive again.

    How Do I Install It?

    While the court requires you to install an ignition interlock device on your car, it does not physically place the device in your car. So, you must arrange with a private company to install and maintain the device. There are many providers across the country, and some jurisdictions will provide you with a list of acceptable options.

    How Much Does It Cost?

    Once you arrange to install the ignition interlock device, the company will provide you with a contract. In the contract, the company will outline the services it provides and detail the cost of renting the device. The cost of installing and maintaining the device is your responsibility. While the cost of an ignition interlock device varies by provider, typically, installation costs between $75 and $200. There is also a monthly fee. On average, the monthly fee varies between $60 and $100. The costs of an ignition interlock can add up quickly. For example, if you are facing a second-offense DUI in New Mexico, the cost of the interlock device could be as high as $2,600 ($200 to install the device and $100 a month for 24 months). Depending on the county, you may also need to bring in the device every month or two to get it serviced.

    What Happens if I Fail the Test?

    The consequences of failing a breath test on an interlock device can be serious. You can fail a test in a few different ways.

    • Failing to provide a sample;
    • Providing a positive sample; or
    • Having someone else provide the sample.

    While all violations are serious, violations involving someone else taking the interlock test for the driver are the most serious. If the court finds that you violated the terms of the interlock requirement, it can find you in violation of your probationary sentence. This can mean you lose your ability to drive or even get sent back to jail.

    Depending on the terms of your probation, you may have other limitations on your driving rights. However, once you complete the interlock requirements, the court will give you a document indicating that you satisfied the requirement. You will then take that document to the company you rented the device from, and they will remove it from your vehicle. It typically takes about two weeks for the company to remove the device.

    Fighting a New Mexico DUI Case

    Those facing DUI charges must face the reality that they may need to install an ignition interlock on their vehicle. However, that isn’t always the case. Often, a skilled New Mexico criminal charges defense attorney can negotiate the charges down to a less serious offense. Even where negotiation isn’t an option, an attorney can help you develop a compelling defense to the charges in hopes of getting an acquittal. For example, your lawyer may argue that the arresting officer lacked probable cause to stop you or ask you to take a breath test.

    Are You Facing New Mexico DUI Charges?

    If you were recently arrested and charged with a New Mexico DUI, contact the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices for immediate assistance. Just because an officer arrested you for a DUI doesn’t mean a court will find you guilty. There are many defenses that apply in DUI cases. Our dedicated DUI defense lawyers have decades of combined experience defending the rights of clients charged with DUIs and other serious traffic offenses. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, give us a call or reach us through our online form.