Ignition Interlock Laws in Washington
Municipal and district courts in the State of Washington and/or the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) may impose additional sanctions on drivers who are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. One such sanction may be the requirement for the driver to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicles. When a driver blows into the device, it measures the alcohol content in the person’s breath. If alcohol is detected, the vehicle will not start. While the State of Washington does not endorse any specific manufacturers, the state does require that only devices certified by the state, and that meet federal requirements, be installed in all vehicles. The manufacturers of the devices can provide information on ignition interlock installers.
Any and all vehicles that are driven by the person need to have an ignition interlock device installed. Work vehicles owned by an employer that need to be driven by the offender are not required to have an IID installed as long as the employer declaration waiver is obtained, signed by the employer and the vehicle is only operated during work hours. Drivers should keep a copy of the declaration with them at all times when they are operating work vehicles. Offenders required to have a Commercial Driver License (CDL) are not eligible for the waiver. In addition to ignition interlock devices being installed on every vehicle, drivers convicted of driving under the influence may be required to obtain an ignition interlock device license (IIL). This special license can help offenders continue their normal work routines when their regular driver licenses have been suspended or revoked. Some offenders may receive an occupational/restricted driver license in addition to the IIL. In order to obtain an IIL, the driving record of the offender must show an arrest or conviction involving drugs or alcohol for DUI or physical control, vehicular assault or vehicular homicide. They must have a valid Washington driver license or be on active duty with the military in the state; they must have a Washington state residential address, and their current arrest or conviction cannot include minor in possession, reckless driving or habitual traffic offender (suspended 1st degree).
The courts and/or DOL decide how long the IID is required to be installed in the offender’s vehicles. Usually for the first offense, the device is required for one year. Second offenses require the device be installed for five years and all subsequent offenses require ten years. Additionally, regardless of the length of time ordered by the court and/or DOL for the device to be installed, the court and/or DOL will not allow the devices removal until the interlock company notifies the court and/or DOL that the offender has met all the requirements. In order to meet all the requirements, during the last four consecutive months of the IID requirement, offenders must not attempt to start the vehicle with a breath alcohol concentration of .040 or higher, must take and pass all required retests, and must not fail to appear at the ignition interlock device vendor when required for maintenance, repair, calibration, monitoring, inspection or replacement of the device.