What happens after being arrested for an alcohol-related driving offense (DWI, DUI, OWI, OVI)?

Across the country, people are driving more and further each week, and unfortunately, continuing to drive under the influence, especially over a holiday weekend. Memorial Day Weekend always brings a spike in DWI arrests.

The stress of a long period of confinement because of COVID-19 has led to an even higher increase in alcohol consumption. If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve been arrested for driving while intoxicated, take a deep breath, and keep reading.

What happens now?

If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, what happens next depends on the state you were arrested in and the charges you were given. However, here is some general information that should get you headed in the right direction.

What state were you arrested in?

Each state handles alcohol-related driving offenses differently. Go to LifeSafer.com and find each state’s requirements for license recovery. Also, a good summary of state laws can be found at the National Council of State Legislature’s website.

When will my license be suspended? Before court? 

Again, all states are a little different. Some take immediate action after your arrest; even before you go to court. This action most often leads to what is known as administrative licensing suspension. This can impact your ability to drive prior to your court date. The reality is this in-between period could take a while, especially now when courts are just beginning to reopen.

Explain this administrative license suspension (ALS).

If you fail or refuse to take a chemical test (such as a breathalyzer) your license can be suspended or revoked immediately. This procedure is known as an Administrative License Suspension (ALS). Currently, 44 states and the District of Columbia have this procedure in place. This creates a period from your arrest until you go to court in which you are technically not allowed to drive AT ALL. Fortunately, most states have ignition interlock programs that allow you to drive as soon as possible. 

When my license is suspended after conviction?

Again, all states set their own requirements for suspension periods. However, if your license is suspended and your state has provisions for installing an ignition interlock device, it can regain your freedom to drive quickly by installing a LifeSafer IID.

How does an ignition interlock work?

An Ignition Interlock Device (IID), like a LifeSafer IID, is installed in your vehicle and prevents the driver from starting the vehicle if alcohol is detected. It’s sort of like the breathalyzer law enforcement uses but it is installed in your vehicle. 

LifeSafer IID devices take deep breath samples into the fuel cell chamber. The presence of alcohol in the sensor chamber causes the fuel cell to produce an increased electric current. This current is measured and translated into an equivalent blood alcohol concentration (BAC). 

Your jurisdiction’s monitoring authority determines the BAC limit that is programmed into the LifeSafer IID. Pass a test and you can start your car and be on your way. Check with your state’s licensing agency to determine if installing a LifeSafer IID is an option for you.

So you do qualify for an Ignition Interlock Program — now what?

Easy. Just call LifeSafer at 800-634-3077. One of our Customer Care Experts will be able to tell you the specific requirements for the state of your arrest and set up an installation appointment at one of our Authorized Service Locations. At LifeSafer, our primary goal is to help you successfully complete your interlock program safely and quickly.

For more information about LifeSafer Ignition Interlock Devices, visit our website or call the Customer Care Center at 800-634-3077.