Driving Without Your Interlock: 5 Reasons Why It’s a Bad Idea
Every year thousands of DUI offenders across the country are ordered to have an ignition interlock installed. A surprising number ignore the order, and drive without one. Others have the device installed, but borrow a friend’s car when they want to drink and drive.
Two words: bad move.
An ignition interlock device (IID or BAIID – Blood Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device) prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol level (BAC) exceeds a programmed limit. The driver breathes into a tube, and if he or she is impaired, the device prevents the vehicle from starting.
Almost all states now prescribe ignition interlock devices, and some do it for first-time DUI offenses. Driving without a court-ordered interlock is a violation of your suspension. Here are five reasons why you’re asking for trouble if you blow off your interlock and drive while suspended:
IT COSTS SERIOUS MONEY. Fines for those caught driving with a suspended license are steep – $5,000 is not uncommon. Add to that the attorney fees… you’re not thinking of appearing in court on a criminal charge without a good attorney, are you? In fact, by the time it’s over, you could be on the hook for $20,000 or more.
YOUR SUSPENSION GETS LONGER. It’s standard to add time to your suspension if you’re caught violating it. Some states can slap on as many as five extra years.
YOUR CAR COULD BE IMPOUNDED. Police in some states impound your car for a period of time when you’re caught driving on a suspended license. Or they might render it inoperable with a boot. If you’re driving a friend’s car to bypass your ignition interlock, tough luck – you’ll have to explain to your friend why their car is gone.
YOU COULD FACE PRISON. In some jurisdictions, people caught driving with a suspended license are given the same treatment as bank robber. Jail time is common for second offenses these days. Ask Paris Hilton – she got three weeks. Had she been caught in Maine, she might have gotten six months!
YOU COULD LOSE YOUR RIGHTS. If you end up a convicted felon, as some who drive with suspended licenses do, you could lose the right to vote, face travel restrictions (many countries deny visas to felons), and be denied federal opportunities for education and housing.
Flouting the interlock law is a losing proposition. If you’ve been ordered to install an ignition interlock in your vehicle, then do it right away. Driving with a suspended license and no interlock is asking for legal battles, financial headaches, and jail.