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What is an ignition interlock and when is it required?

On Behalf of | May 6, 2024 | DWI Defense

In Minnesota, around one-third of all traffic deaths each year involve alcohol. The court system has several tools available to try to reduce this number. One of those is an ignition interlock, which is a device that checks a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) before the vehicle can start.

Minnesota law requires the use of ignition interlocks in certain cases, such as if someone has been convicted of a second or third drunk driving charge in a 10-year period. People who have a first drunk driving charge that involves a BAC of .16 or higher can voluntarily participate in the Minnesota Ignition Interlock Device Program to get driving privileges back sooner.

How does an ignition interlock improve driving safety?

Ignition interlocks can help individuals require a person to have a BAC below a pre-set limit to start the vehicle. Because some people will try to circumvent that reading so they can drive even if they’re drinking, these devices will also require periodic breath samples during a drive. When the alert for a sample sounds, the driver has a pre-set time to pull over and provide a sample so they can continue their journey.

If a person is required to have an ignition interlock, they must have it installed on every vehicle they drive. This includes work vehicles, so they’ll likely not be able to continue working a job that requires driving because of insurance and liability concerns. 

Fighting a drunk driving charge can be a serious matter, so it’s critical that anyone who’s facing it understands their options. It may behoove these individuals to seek the assistance of someone familiar with these matters so they can learn how to move forward with their defense strategy.

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