About Ignition Interlock

Guilfoil Law Group April 20, 2021

Missouri has recently passed legislation that has made life a lot tougher for Missouri drivers who plead guilty or are sentenced for a second or greater DWI or BAC offense. Missouri courts used to have a lot more discretion in the terms of probation a driver was given if they plead guilty to a DWI or BAC charge in Missouri, even when it was not their first such offense.

Under RSMo. 577.600 Missouri Courts are now required to give any driver who pleads guilty to a second or greater DWI or BAC charge what is called ignition interlock. This means any court granting Limited Driving Privileges to any person who is found guilty or pleads guilty to a second or subsequent DWI or BAC SHALL REQUIRE the use of ignition interlock in all vehicles operated by the person as a required condition of the limited driving privilege for a period of not less than one month.

Ignition interlock is basically a breath testing device installed on the dashboard of all vehicles the driver owns in Missouri where ignition interlock is ordered, which tests the driver's breath for alcohol. If any alcohol is detected, the car will not operate. Many ignition interlock devices will require the driver to keep blowing into the device at certain intervals to keep the vehicle operating.

To operate a vehicle that has an ignition interlock installed, a driver's blood-alcohol level usually must be below 0.025 percent - less than a quarter of the legal limit - to keep the car running, depending on the type of device installed. After three failed attempts for positive alcohol tests resulting in vehicle lockouts, the driver must pay to have the car taken to a certified service center in order to have the system reset.

One can easily imagine that being forced to have an ignition interlock device placed in prominent view in every one of their vehicles will end most professional jobs. Imagine having to blow into a breath tube while operating your vehicle with a client or anyone else in the car with you!

Perhaps the biggest problem with ignition interlock is the high degree of false positives that are resulted. If you think the Intoxilyzer 5000 or the Datamaster the police use for breath testing gives many bad results, it is minor compared to the margin for error on many ignition interlock devices. Don't even think about eating spicy foods or any other item that is known to cause false positives in breath testing devices.

When facing any DWI or BAC charge in Missouri, especially when you have prior offenses, it is imperative that you seek competent counsel to help avoid such harsh penalties being imposed upon you.