Are Ignition Interlock Devices Required After DUI Sentencing?

Under certain circumstances, an ignition interlock device is required as part of DUI/DWI sentencing in North Carolina. In fact, many states have made the ignition interlock device (IID) mandatory for a drunk driving conviction.

When Is an IID Mandatory in North Carolina?

A court will order the installation and monitoring of an ignition interlock device for any driver who is convicted of a DWI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .15% or higher. This applies even for a first time offense.

There are other situations in which an IID is optional and can be selected in lieu of a license suspension. It’s best to consult with an attorney to determine what is your best option in your specific situation.

Which States Require Ignition Interlock Devices?

Currently, 24 states and the District of Columbia have IID requirements for first-time DUI offenders. Additionally, four counties in California have similar requirements.

Per the National Conference of State Legislatures, states that require first-time DUI offenders to install an IID after a post-conviction license suspension include:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

How Much Does an Ignition Interlock Device Cost?

There are two considerations to the cost of an IID. First, you will have to pay for the installation of the device. It can cost anywhere between $70 and $150 to connect the device to your car.

Second, you will have to pay for the monthly upkeep or operation of the device. The maintenance of an IID can cost between $60 and $80 per month, or between $720 and $960 per year.

Thus, an IID can cost you more than $1,000 per year for installation and upkeep.

However, this amount pales in comparison with some of the other consequences you may be handed. In some cases, you may be able to opt for an ignition interlock device instead of some of the other harsh penalties you may face. For example, instead of dealing with a long period of license suspension, resulting in high costs for cabs, Ubers, Lyfts, or paying others to transport you places, you may be able to get your license back with an IID installed in your car.

Other Personal & Financial Costs of a DUI Charge

An IID is only the beginning of costs for a DWI in North Carolina. There are five levels of DWIs in North Carolina, each potentially costing more than the previous.

Potential total costs include legal fees, towing and impound fees, car insurance, an IID, driver intervention and substance abuse programs. Aside from financial impacts, you may also face jail time for a DWI in North Carolina.

According to Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys, potential total cost of a DWI include:

  • Level 5 DWI – $10.4K per year
  • Level 4 DWI – $10.7K per year
  • Level 3 DWI – $11.2K per year
  • Level 2 DWI – $12.2K per year
  • Level 1 DWI – $14.2K per year

Additionally, if you are convicted of a DWI, you will have a permanent criminal record.

Learn More About Your Options With an Ignition Interlock Device

Although an IID can be expensive and may not be ideal, it can get you back on the road again. A DWI attorney can help you find the best options for you in a difficult situation.

Not only can your lawyer find you the best ignition interlock device for you, but they can help you use it to avoid other harsh penalties of a DWI.