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  • Ann Sheeley

What Happens If You Violate Your Ignition Interlock Device?

Updated: Mar 19

Have you or someone you know been ordered to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) as part of a DUI sentence? If so, it is important to know that there are serious consequences for violating an IID’s usage requirements. Tampering with, bypassing, or attempting to circumvent your IID can result in fines, jail time, license suspension, and more.


Sheeley Law has partnered with Interlock Install to offer a series of informative articles about IIDs and how they can help prevent tragic accidents caused by impaired driving. In this article, we discuss how IIDs work and the penalties one could face if they violate the terms of an IID.


How Do Ignition Interlock Devices Work?

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An IID is a small electronic device that is connected to a vehicle's ignition system. It operates as a breathalyzer, measuring the driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) before allowing the vehicle to start. If the BAC reading exceeds a predetermined legal limit, usually set at 0.02% or 0.04%, the IID prevents the engine from starting, effectively prohibiting an impaired individual from driving. However, if the BAC level is below the acceptable range, the vehicle can be driven to its destination.


It is important to know that IIDs often require random “rolling retests.” These are additional breath tests that the driver must complete while the vehicle is in motion to ensure they remain alcohol-free throughout their journey.


In many states, such as Rhode Island, IIDs can reduce the amount of time that one’s license is suspended. If the DUI offender was granted permission for a “hardship license,” an IID is most often required to maintain certain driving privileges, such as driving to and from work, school and appointments.


The Penalties for Violating an Ignition Interlock Device

It is crucial for DUI offenders to adhere to the requirements of an IID. First off, if the driver fails the breathalyzer test in your IID, the device will lock the ignition and prevent it from starting. The driver will then have to wait a period of time before they can retest.


Below are three additional violations to be aware of an avoid at all costs:

  1. Never alter, tamper, disconnect, or circumvent the operation of an ignition interlock system. This includes trying to trick the device into thinking a BAC reading is lower than it actually is or turning off the device altogether.

  2. Never operate someone else’s vehicle not equipped with IID. This is a violation even if the DUI offender has not been drinking.

  3. Never attempt to have another person start a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock system on your behalf. Remember, there are often random tests performed during each drive.

Understanding the consequences of violating an ignition interlock order in Rhode Island is important. In Rhode Island, an IID violation is considered a misdemeanor. This means violators could face fines of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both. By following the rules, DUI offenders can maintain driving privileges and help keep our roads safe.


How to Avoid IID Violations

The best way to avoid IID violations in Rhode Island is to follow the terms of your installation agreement carefully.

  • First, blow into the device each and every time the car is started. This is the most important guideline to follow. If the driver fails the breathalyzer, the car will not start.

  • Second, keep the device clean and free of obstructions. This will help ensure the IID works properly and accurately measures your BAC.

  • Third, report any problems with the device to the IID provider immediately. This includes problems such as the device not starting, not reading your BAC correctly, or giving you an error message.

  • Finally, do not allow anyone else to blow into the device. This is important because the device is calibrated to your individual BAC. If someone else blows into the device, it will give you a false reading.


If you or someone you know is facing a DUI conviction or has questions regarding Ignition Interlock Devices or their requirements, do not hesitate to contact Rhode Island DUI Attorney Ann Sheeley at 401-619-5555 or by emailing asheeley@sheeleylaw.com. We offer a free consultation and can provide guidance, answer your questions, and help you take the necessary steps to get back on the road safely.


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