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DC DUI Ignition Interlock Lawyer

DC established its DUI Ignition Interlock Program in 2002. The program permits the Department of Motor Vehicles to reduce by one year the license revocation period of a driver convicted of a second or subsequent alcohol-related offense. In order to be eligible for the program, the driver must comply with certain conditions, such as completing an alcohol and traffic safety program, obtaining high-risk insurance, and paying a reinstatement fee to the DMV. A DC DUI lawyer can help explain the legal authority and other details concerning the Ignition Interlock Program.

DC DUI Ignition Interlock Device

An Ignition Interlock Device, or IID, is a device or mechanism, like a Breathalyzer, that is installed in a vehicle and connected to the ignition system. To start the vehicle, the driver must blow into the device. If their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds the preset level, the device will log the event, warn the driver and trigger an alarm until the ignition is shut off. The preset level is based upon the requirements of the court, and may range from zero measurable to alcohol to a few percentage points.

Most people who qualify for the program are required to use an IID for one year. However, that time may be extended if there is a subsequent violation once the device is installed. Someone could also face some further penalty, depending on the degree of the violation.

There are some other important factors to consider. Having an IID installed in a vehicle can be expensive. The installation cost is paid for by the driver, not the court or DC. Anyone who is unable to pay for the installation cost in full must petition the court regarding alternative payment arrangements. If someone requires the use of their car for their job but they cannot afford to pay for the device, a dedicated DUI attorney can petition the court on their client’s behalf and will work aggressively to persuade the judge they should qualify for alternative payment arrangements.

DC DUI Ignition Interlock Eligibility

Those interested in applying for the DC DUI Ignition Interlock Program, must follow the regulations outlined in DC Municipal Regulations. Eligibility requirements are outlined in Title 18’s section 311. The following eligibility requirements apply to DC residents only:

  • They must complete at least one year of a two-year revocation or two years of a three revocation.
  • They must find a DMV-approved DC DUI ignition interlock vendor to install the IID on all vehicles that are driven.
  • They must complete and submit a DC DUI Ignition Interlock Program application.
  • They may not have any other pending or additional license suspensions.
  • They cannot have been convicted of causing someone’s death or injury while operating a motor vehicle in any jurisdiction.
  • They cannot have had an IID installed in their vehicle previously, or participated in any similar program, within the last five years of their application.

Drivers New to the Area

Drivers who are new to the area face slightly different eligibility requirements, which include:

  • Showing proof of legal residence in DC and providing a social security number and a valid out-of-state driver’s license with their full legal name.
  • Having an IID installed in at least one of their vehicles 30 days prior to applying for the program in DC, and be currently enrolled in another jurisdiction’s court-certified program. The enrollment must be for at least 30 days.
  • Currently possessing a valid out-of-state driver’s license with IID restriction.
  • Showing a certified driving record issued within 30 days from the jurisdiction where they lived.
  • Having a DC DMV-approved provider install an IID on their vehicle within 15 days of enrolling in the DC program.
  • Following all DC DUI Ignition Interlock Program requirements.
  • Not causing the death or injury of any person while driving a vehicle.
  • Acquiring a DC driver’s license and vehicle registration.

DC DUI Ignition Interlock Requirements

Someone is required to return each vehicle with an IID to the service provider who installed it every 30 days for:

  • Servicing
  • Collection of data
  • Calibration

They can be removed from the program if they do not comply with this rule. In addition, anyone who is found to have allowed someone else to blow into the device will be kicked out of the program and will face additional penalties. Tampering with or removing the device will result in their removal from the program and enhanced penalties.

Having an IID installed in someone’s vehicle is one way to restore driving privileges and reduce the amount of fallout they may experience from a DUI conviction.

Working with an Attorney

Ignition interlock devices can be fairly burdensome for many people who face the cost of getting them installed. Attorneys can help argue to a judge against any requirements that a client has to install an ignition interlock device.

Some of the reasons for eliminating that requirement include excessive financial hardship. As an example, some people who are convicted of a DUI may face in some circumstances the loss of their employment. That is especially true for repeat offenders who may be facing mandatory jail time. As a result of the potential loss of employment, many people who were faced with repeat DUIs are not  in the position to be able to financially afford the cost of ignition interlock.

A lawyer can make those arguments to a judge in order to be able to convince the judge that ignition interlock is both not necessary and an excessive hardship for a person facing that requirement.

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