How Many Times Can You Fail an Ignition Interlock Test?  

Posted On August 30, 2018 Blood Alcohol Tests,Criminal Defense

*For informational purposes only*

Arizona law requires that any person convicted of a DUI have an ignition interlock installed on his or her vehicle. These devices help discourage drunk driving by requiring drivers to blow into a device before they can access the ignition. Failing an ignition interlock device test can result in additional time required to use the device and other penalties.

The length of time you need to have this ignition interlock device on your vehicle depends on the gravity of the offense and your blood alcohol content (BAC). A standard DUI, for example (a BAC of .08 or above), may require an ignition interlock device for 12 months, while a super extreme DUI (BAC of .2 or above) requires an ignition interlock device for 18 months or more.

How many times can you fail this test, and what are the consequences for doing so?

Consequences of Failing an Interlock Device Test

Arizona is known as a zero-tolerance state when it comes to operating under the influence of alcohol. When you receive a charge for drunk driving within the state, you will receive an order to install an interlocking device in your vehicle. There’s no accepted waiting period for this order and you must comply with it immediately. If you don’t install an interlocking device within 30 days, you face an immediate suspension of your license and you might even have to use an ignition interlock device longer than you were originally required.

Failing the Test More Than Once

Most people know their vehicle will fail to start if the ignition interlocking device detects alcohol when the driver blows into it. However, most people don’t realize that blowing into an ignition interlock device with a BAC in excess of .08 on more than two occurrences can lead to an additional six-month period of having the device. This may sound like a harsh punishment but bear in mind that if someone blows more than a .08 into an ignition interlock device, they are attempting to drive drunk.

Failing the Breath Test Three Times

If you blow into your ignition interlock device during your six-month extension and blow more than a .08 in even one instance, your program could extend by yet another six months. In other words, blowing a .08 into your ignition device three times could lead to an extension of more than a year. It’s best to remain compliant and only attempt to drive if you’re sober.

Other violations that could extend the time of your IID include missing the scheduled 90-day calibration appointment, this violation can result in a driver’s license suspension and the IID time frame to restart. Tampering with the device can result in a 6-month extension and/or prosecution and removing the device before you are allowed to could lead to a suspension of your driver’s license and the time frame to have the device installed will start over.

Accidentally Failing an Ignition Interlock Breath Test

An interlock device will not allow a driver to start or re-start a car if they detect alcohol in their breath. However, there are instances where certain foods and other oral hygiene products that are used before taking the test can cause a false positive. Some of these products include:

  • Mouthwash
  • Bread and other food with high concentrations of yeast
  • Energy drinks
  • Breath spray
  • Some cold and cough medicines

These products contain small quantities of alcohol that could be detected by the interlock device system and flagged as a failed breath test. It is recommended that you rinse your mouth after consuming any of these products or wait a few minutes after consuming them to take the test. If you have not consumed any alcohol and any of these or other products caused you to fail your breath test, contact the agency monitoring your progress to inform them of the situation.

Arizona Department of Transportation Monitoring

It’s important to remember the activity that occurs within your interlocking device will periodically send data to the Arizona Department of Transportation. If any of those reports indicate your failure to comply with the requirements established by your ignition interlocking device program, you could extend your requirements or even lose your license.

The Arizona Department of Transportation describes activities that fail to comply as the following:

  • Attempting to tamper with the device
  • Attempting to circumvent the requirements (including asking someone else to use the device for you)
  • Blowing more than .08 into your interlocking device

The Arizona Department of Transportation takes its ignition interlocking device program very seriously. Failure to comply could lead to harsh penalties, such as revocation of driving privileges and extended time frames for using the device. Arizona uses sophisticated technology to enforce compliance, so take steps to ensure your own compliance with the program.

The solution is simple: Never attempt to drink and drive, even if you’ve only had a little bit to drink. The risks to your future are too great. By observing the rules of the program, you can complete your requirements and get back on the path to your normal life within a reasonable time frame. Remember that failing your ignition interlock device test can have serious consequences, even if it’s just a couple of times.