It is common knowledge that penalties for conviction of driving under the influence are severe, but not a lot of people are aware that participation in an Ignition Interlock Program is a requirement in many places to get your license back once convicted. Most people are not even aware of what an Ignition Interlock Program actually is.
What Is an Ignition Interlock Program?
An Ignition Interlock Program is designed to make sure that drivers do not drink and drive for a specific time period after getting back their driver’s license. The program requires that the driver’s vehicle should be equipped with a device that does not allow the vehicle to start unless the driver passes an in-vehicle breathalyzer. If your work involves driving a vehicle, such as a delivery person, a cab driver, private investigator, or even a police officer, the consequences can be very serious and life-changing.
The Basics of An Ignition Interlock Program
If you have received three administrative suspension charges or any criminal charge for DUI within the last ten years, you will be required to participate in an Ignition Interlock Program. Participation requires fulfillment of other sentence conditions, namely:
- Suspension of license
- Participating in mandatory medical evaluation
- Facing potential jail time
- Participating in the back-on-track treatment or education program
- Paying a minimum fine of $1000
The driver’s license will be restored and designated as having an ignition interlock. This means that the driver’s vehicle needs to be installed or equipped with an ignition interlock system and it also prohibits the driver from driving any vehicle that doesn’t have one. Drivers who are caught driving a vehicle without an ignition interlock system can have their license suspension extended and face additional penalties. inexperienced offenders can face a minimum of six months up to a year of suspension and third-time offenders can face a minimum of six years and additional penalties.
Reduce Your License Suspension
Governments are not just using the ignition interlock device as a penalty and deterrent for drunk driving and future DUIs. It is also a way to incentivize faster DUI trials. People who admit guilt to DUI charges within the designated time can enjoy a reduced length of license suspension and pave the way for their participation in the Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program. Inexperienced offenders who admit guilt can have their one-year license suspension reduced to just three months under the Conduct Review Program for Reduced Suspension with Ignition Interlock. Second-time offenders can enjoy a reduced suspension of nine months from what is usually three years.
Initial offenders who do not plead guilty can also access the program. However, approval for them will be more challenging to achieve. If found guilty by the court, those who choose not to plead guilty may receive a six-month reduction in their sentence.
Do Not Plead Guilty Before Consulting an Experienced DUI Lawyer
It might be tempting to plead guilty to have a shorter suspension of license, but know that pleading guilty can also result in legal penalties that can follow you throughout your life. There is no need to make a rushed decision about something that concerns your future. It is always better to consult with a DUI lawyer to determine the best course of action for your defense. Remember, a DUI conviction can affect your ability to travel, buy property, start a business, and live your life in the future.