The Law Offices of John Phebus

Most states now mandate ignition interlock for first-time DUI

Arizona is one of several states that mandate ignition interlock devices for first-time DUI convicted offenders. Maryland became the 26th state to make ignition interlock mandatory with the passage of Noah's Law on April 11. Mothers Against Drunk Driving continues to campaign for all states to pass similar laws.

Ignition interlock requires a breathalyzer test at the wheel of any car with the system installed before the car can be started. According to MADD, one third of all drunk drivers are repeat offenders, and the average drunk driver drives under the influence up to 80 times before being apprehended and charged. Mandatory ignition interlock devices have stopped 1.77 million drunk driving attempts, according to a statement released by the organization.

Mandatory ignition interlock laws are currently pending in six other states. The new law in Maryland was named after a police officer who was killed by a suspected drunk driver. Previously the state only mandated ignition interlock for first offenders if their blood alcohol content was at least .15. The legal limit in all 50 states for people 21 and over is .08.

Arizona law has four levels of drunk driving charges and penalties. There is zero tolerance for drunk driving if the driver is under 21 years of age, meaning that even a trace amount of alcohol in the blood of a driver under 21 can result in a DUI charge. For non-commercial drivers over the age of 21, DUI is the charge for driving with a blood alcohol level between .08 and .149. Blood alcohol of at least .15 but below .2 is Extreme DUI; blood alcohol .2 or higher is Super Extreme DUI. Commercial drivers can be charged with DUI with a blood alcohol level of only .04. A first offense results in jail time of at least 24 hours in addition to other mandatory penalties.

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