ignition-interlock-devices-stink-and-heres-whyIf you’ve never seen one, ignition interlock devices aren’t pretty. The “interlock” part means that the device can prevent ignition or shut down the engine if alcohol is detected when the device is used; that means it has to be hardwired into your car. The handheld Breathalyzer is bulky, and dragging that cord around knocks everything out of your cup holders. In short, it’s a giant pain in the you-know-what.

Who has to get an ignition interlock device?

Just about anyone convicted of drinking and driving. Or anyone who has been referred to the program by the District Courts, Administrative Law Judges, or the MVA. Or when the Maryland District Court, The Office of Administrative Hearings, or the Medical Advisory Board says so. Or if you have too many points, or are a repeat offender, or violate a restriction, or refused or failed an alcohol test. So really, almost anyone. The shorter answer is that, under Noah’s Law, drivers are required to participate in the ignition interlock program if convicted of:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI);
  • Driving while impaired (DWI) while transporting a minor under the age of 16;
  • Driving while intoxicated with an initial breathalyzer test refusal; and
  • Homicide or life-threatening injury by motor vehicle while DUI or DWI

While some convictions require mandatory enrollment in the program, others can be fought successfully. For any conviction other than those four, there is an opportunity to avoid having an interlock device installed. Trust us on this; it’s something that you definitely want to avoid if you can.

What’s so bad about an ignition interlock device?

Interlock devices are there to stop an offender from driving while intoxicated. Because they analyze your breath, the machines are expensive to install and require monthly maintenance, which the offender must pay for. The calibration is sensitive enough to detect the alcohol in mouthwash and asthma inhalers, which may cause a false positive. For each violation, participation in the program is automatically extended by one month.

On top of all of this, don’t forget that in order to have the device installed and serviced, you have to take time out of your day to visit a service center. Usually, the center with the best price won’t be the one closest to your house, so this can add up to a significant amount of time.

If you think you might be required to get an ignition interlock device installed, don’t panic – I can help. As an Annapolis DUI defense lawyer, I do whatever I can to make sure you can keep driving without the added burden of an IDD. Call my firm, Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, at 410-271-1892, or fill out this contact form to learn more.


Just remember: Keep Calm – and Call Drew.