Ignition Interlock Devices

Question: Am I going to have to install an ignition interlock device on my car?

Answer: If you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony level DWI in New York State, then you are going to have to install an ignition interlock device on your car.

That having been said, there are other crimes for which you could be ordered to install an ignition interlock device on your car. Those crimes include violations of the Penal Law in which a violation of VTL 1192 is an essential element. Without getting too technical, let us just say that if you are charged with an alcohol-related violation of the Penal Law (such as Vehicular Assault), you need to speak with an attorney and you need to speak with one soon. You have much bigger issues to deal with than the ignition interlock device.

Not everybody can be ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed on their car. The situation where prosecutors most often want to see an IID installed on a car is when somebody is pleading from a misdemeanor level DWI to a violation of the VTL, so a DWAI. Sometimes prosecutors will say that they will reduce the misdemeanor charge to the violation, if the defendant – meaning you – agrees to have an ignition interlock device installed on your car. That plea offer is not authorized by the Vehicle and Traffic Law or the Penal Law. In fact, Penal Law Section 65.10, Subdivision 2, Subdivision K-1 says and I quote, “the court may require the ignition interlock device condition only where a person has been convicted of a violation of VTL 1192, 2a or 3”.

There is one exception to instances when a person convicted of DWI and sentenced to the ignition interlock device must actually use the ignition interlock device. When the person is using an employer owned vehicle, if they meet certain conditions they can use that employer owned vehicle without an ignition interlock device. The conditions are these:

  1. they can only use the non-IID vehicle in the course and scope of their employment;
  2. they can only use it if the employer has been notified that the person has been ordered to use ignition interlock device equipment;
  3. the person has to have provided the probation department and the court with proof indicating that their employer is aware of the IID requirement and has granted the defendant permission to operate the employer’s vehicle without an IID; and
  4. the court has approved the use of a vehicle without an IID.

If you want to rent a vehicle, you are required by law to tell the rental facility that you are subject to the IID requirement. If you want to lease a vehicle, that vehicle also has to have an IID installed. Rented, leased, loaned vehicles are not exceptions to the IID requirement.

How long will the Ignition Interlock Device be installed on my car?

For most drivers over the age of 21, a first DWI offense results in an ignition interlock period of six months. You have to have the ignition interlock installed within ten days of your sentence, and within three days after that you need to send notification to the court that you did, in fact, have it installed. You should know that most ignition interlock device service providers are pretty backed up. So the first day after your sentence you really need to call and make an appointment, at least in Monroe, Ontario and Livingston Counties. Otherwise, you won’t get into the service provider before your ten days is up, and that can be a problem.

Ignition Interlock Devices present a number of practical problems, and for many of our clients, this is the issue that they have the most questions about. If you are facing a DWI charge and you have questions about the IID, call Jeannie D. Michalski, LLP at (585) 351-2500 for a free DWI consultation.