Understanding the Ignition Interlock Device

Ignition interlock device.

Understanding the Ignition Interlock Device

As a consequence of Arizona’s aggressive laws regarding driving under the influence (DUI), those who are convicted of a DUI offense in the state will be required to install a certified ignition interlock device into their vehicle, following any license suspension, in order to be legally allowed to drive again.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

As defined by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), a certified ignition interlock device “is a breath-analyzing instrument that is wired to the vehicle’s ignition and installed on the vehicle dashboard, along with a camera and GPS. Before the vehicle can be started, the driver first must exhale into the device. If the interlock detects alcohol on the breath, the engine will not start. The device measures your breath alcohol content (BrAC) level. You’ll only be able to start your vehicle if your BrAC level is under 0.020.”

These devices include cameras, GPS, and the ability to report in real time.

After a vehicle’s engine has started running, the device will require additional, random breath samples to be provided. All samples, or refusals, are logged by the device, and the device is not able to be turned off once the vehicle’s engine has turned on.

If the interlock device registers a breath sample over the BrAC limit of .02, the vehicle will remain locked in place until an appropriate BrAC is provided. This can leave drivers stranded wherever they are for the time being.

How do I get an Ignition Interlock Device Installed in My Vehicle?

Only companies authorized by the Motor Vehicle Division may install certified ignition interlock devices. Often, drivers may only have their driver license reinstated after the installation of an interlock device.

Drivers who require a certified ignition interlock device in their vehicle are responsible for the associated costs. This varies based on installer, with some offering free installation and removal for a monthly maintenance fee, and others offering monthly lease rates. Often, this ranges from $70 to $120 per month. These devices are recalibrated every 77 to 90 days.

ADOT provides a list of authorized interlock installers.

What are the Rules Regarding Ignition Interlock Devices?

Arizona statute provides a comprehensive list of laws regarding ignition interlock use in A.R.S. 28-1464. Individuals who are required to have a certified ignition interlock device in their vehicle:

  • May not use another vehicle (such as a rental) unless it is also equipped with such a device, except for use in a substantial emergency.
  • May not request or permit any other person to breathe into the ignition interlock device or start a motor vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device for the purpose of providing the person with an operable motor vehicle.
  • May not tamper with or circumvent the operation of an ignition interlock device.
  • May not operate a vehicle without an actively functioning certified ignition interlock device during the applicable time period.

Additionally, nobody else may offer to provide a beath sample for a driver who requires the use of an interlock device or to lend the use of a vehicle that does not have such a device installed.

Violating any provisions of A.R.S. 28-1464 is a class 1 misdemeanor, which can result in up to 6 months of incarceration. It can also can an increase in the amount of time that an offender is required to use an ignition interlock device for up to an additional year.



With offices in Lake Havasu City and Scottsdale, our firm serves the entire state of Arizona, with a particular focus on criminal defense, family law, and juvenile cases.

Our goal is for the best outcome for your criminal case, which can include:

  • charges that are reduced or dropped.
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At Rideout Law Group, our attorneys are able to expertly examine the evidence in your case to provide a strong strategy for argument that leads to an outcome that is most favorable to you. We have experience in all types of criminal cases for both adults and juveniles, with positive outcomes both in plea negotiations as well as jury trial settings.

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