Ignition Interlock Device Laws in Arizona

Posted On January 6, 2021 Arizona Laws,Drunk Driving Charges Written by John Allen Phebus

Arizona takes driving under the influence (DUI) crimes very seriously. The state legislature has passed many laws to discourage driving drunk and prevent repeat offenders. One of these laws is the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device in the vehicle of someone convicted of a DUI. Not every DUI will lead to an ignition interlock device requirement, however. Learn more about how this law applies to DUI cases in Arizona.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device is a tool that prevents a driver from being able to start his or her vehicle engine without blowing a clean, alcohol-free breath into the device. An ignition interlock device analyzes a driver’s breath immediately. If the driver’s breath passes the test, meaning the device detects a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.02% or lower, the vehicle’s engine will start. If the device detects alcohol in the driver’s exhalation, the engine will not start.

Many ignition interlock devices also require the driver to blow into the device at random times during a drive. If at any time the device detects alcohol, the vehicle’s engine will not shut off (for safety reasons), but the device will log the event and warn the driver. It will then continue requesting breath samples until the driver provides a clean sample. This is to prevent a driver from consuming alcohol behind the wheel after starting the car.

An ignition interlock device is a tool used to prevent repeat drunk driving offenses. With this device installed in a vehicle, a driver cannot start his or her engine if he or she has been drinking alcohol. Data from the ignition interlock device is automatically transmitted to the Arizona Department of Transportation. If the driver breaks one of the stipulations of his or her sentence, such as by blowing past a set BAC level or tampering with the device, the driver could face more severe penalties from a judge.

When Are You Required to Get an Ignition Interlock Device Installed?

A driver generally has to have a BAC level at or above 0.08% at the time of the traffic stop to be arrested for DUI. However, a police officer can make an arrest with less than this BAC if the driver was intoxicated enough to impact his or her driving capabilities. A DUI is a misdemeanor offense in Arizona unless there are aggravating factors. An ignition interlock device may be a requirement as part of a defendant’s sentence after a driving under the influence conviction in Arizona.

The typical sentence for a DUI conviction in Arizona is a minimum of 10 days in jail, a fine of at least $250 plus additional assessments, community service and a mandatory ignition interlock device. These are the sentencing rules under Arizona Revised Statute 28-1381. An ignition interlock device will be a requirement if the defendant was convicted of a DUI involving intoxicating liquor. If a defendant must get an ignition interlock device, he or she will be responsible for the costs of purchasing or leasing the device, as well as the costs of installation and maintenance.

How Long Should You Use the Ignition Interlock Device?

The amount of time a driver will have to use an ignition interlock device after a DUI conviction in Arizona depends on his or her sentence. The law states that the court has the right to order the defendant to operate a vehicle with a certified ignition interlock device for one year or longer, beginning on the date of the first completed alcohol education or treatment program.

Some defendants qualify for six-month deferments. Successfully completing an alcohol education program and having an ignition interlock device for at least six consecutive months could make a defendant eligible for deferment. The defendant must not have caused any bodily injuries or property damage in the original DUI offense to qualify, however. For more information about ignition interlock device laws in Arizona, contact a Glendale criminal lawyer.