July 2, 2021 | DUI
If you have recently been charged with a DUI or DWI, you may have been ordered to have an ignition interlock device like Smart Start installed in your vehicle. You may have some questions about what this device actually is and how it is installed in vehicles.
The Basics of an Ignition Interlock
An ignition interlock is a device that requires the driver to blow into the machine before the vehicle starts. Additionally, the vehicle may require the driver to blow into the machine periodically as they drive.
This system measures the individual’s BrAC or Breath Alcohol Content. BrAC is similar to Blood Alcohol Content or BAC. If the individual registers a number that is too high, the vehicle will not start and the individual cannot operate the vehicle.
How Ignition Interlock Works
The device is installed in a vehicle and is located on the driver’s side. Typically, the installation can place the device in a convenient yet discreet location so it doesn’t attract additional attention from passengers.
If you attempt to start the vehicle before you blow into the device, the device will prevent the car from starting. Once the device registers a breath that meets the requirements, the system will allow the car to start.
Getting a car started with an ignition interlock device demonstrates that you have not consumed alcohol before driving. However, it does not necessarily mean that you won’t drink while driving. Therefore, the systems also have a random test that is implemented.
These tests are also called rolling retests because they happen while you are moving. However, you should not perform a test while you are moving. Instead, pull over when it is safe to do so, and blow into the machine.
The times for these retests occur randomly, so you will not have advance notice for when they will occur. However, they do allow enough time for you to safely pull over.
What Happens if There is a Positive Result
If there is a positive test before you start your vehicle, your car will not start. If you have a positive test as a result of the random testing, the engine will not suddenly shut off. Instead, the positive test is logged in the system.
If you fail to breathe into your Smart Start during the specified time, or if the sample is outside of the specified limits, the device will log that action and provide you with a warning of the violation.
Continued Use and Calibration
Interlock devices, like any breathalyzer device, should be calibrated regularly. During the calibration, a technician will ensure that your system is working. They may also add new updates to the system and download the testing data to forward it appropriately. Different systems may have different specifications, but recalibration should generally occur within 30-60 days.
The calibration only takes about 15-20 minutes. Many individuals choose to get their devices serviced over a lunch break.
Your device will notify you when it is time to be serviced. If you miss your service appointment, the interlock device may disable your ability to start the vehicle. If this happens, you will need to have your vehicle towed for servicing, where a technician can reset the system.
Alternatives to the Interlock
While there are various systems on the market, you should make sure that you get the system required for your area. Additionally, you are responsible for the cost of the installation and any additional costs associated with the device. It is important to know how much this will cost so you can plan ahead.
If you have been drinking and need to have your vehicle at your home, you may have another individual drive your vehicle. However, the driver of your vehicle is always required to activate the device so the car will start. Additionally, if that person logs a positive test, the system will attribute it to you. While you can try to explain this issue to your monitoring authority, they may count that against you.
We often recommend that people who have been drinking find an alternative form of transportation rather than risk another DUI or a positive logged event on the system.
Additionally, make sure that you understand the specifics of your case. If you are required to have an ignition interlock system in your vehicle, you may not be able to drive somebody else’s car. It is your responsibility to know what is allowed for your situation. If you have questions about your case, be sure to discuss them with an attorney.
Contact the Cincinnati DUI Lawyers at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Cincinnati
600 Vine Street, Suite 1004
Cincinnati, OH 45202