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Ignition Interlock Device Laws in Seattle

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

There are many penalties that can result from a DUI conviction. Often, the most inconvenient of these is driver's license suspension. In fact, many people arrested for DUI fear this consequence more than serving jail time or paying fines. Most people rely on their ability to drive as their sole mode of transportation and losing that privilege would be a huge burden on themselves and their families. Luckily, there are laws in place in Washington to help people in this type of situation who have lost the license but still need a vehicle to get around.

One of the best options available to most offenders who have had their license suspended due to an alcohol related offense is the installation of an ignition interlock device or IID. An IID is a small device that an offender has installed in their vehicle or vehicles that requires the operator to give a breath sample prior to starting the engine. RCW 46.04.215 states:

"Ignition interlock device" means breath alcohol analyzing ignition equipment or other biological or technical device certified in conformance with RCW 43.43.395 and rules adopted by the state patrol and designed to prevent a motor vehicle from being operated by a person who has consumed an alcoholic beverage.

The device determines whether there is any alcohol in the driver's breath and will not allow the vehicle to start if it detects the presence of alcohol. These devices are a great compromise for DUI offenders because they allow the driver to continue to legally operate their vehicle while ensuring that they do not repeat their crime. For more information about IIDs, contact a Seattle DUI Defense Lawyer.

Seattle Ignition Interlock Device Laws

Ignition interlock laws are very precise. Lawmakers and IID manufacturers have taken great effort to make sure that IIDs are easy to use and effective. After a driver loses their license due to DUI or an alcohol-related offense, they may be eligible to get an Ignition Interlock Driver's License or IIL. This license will allow the offender to operate their vehicle as long as an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is installed in it. Under Washington law, an IID will not allow the vehicle to start if the driver's Breath Alcohol Content (BAC) is .025 or more. This is very little and almost any alcohol will result in a failed test. Also, most devices are required to be installed with a camera that takes the driver's photo in order to verify that the offender is the one providing the breath sample.

IIDs are a good compromise, but they are not perfect. One big flaw of IIDs is their cost. It cost $100 to apply for an IIL and installation and use of an IID can cost up to $80 per month. Additionally, all IID users are required to pay another $20 for the indigent fund. In some cases, drivers can be eligible to have these fees waived, but only if they can show that are below the poverty line.

Who Can Use an IID in Washington?

There are several situations that can result in the use of an IID. Drivers convicted of DUI or physical control of the vehicle crimes must apply for an IIL if they wish to continue driving. Those convicted of reckless driving or negligent driving will often also have to use an IID device for some time before their driver's license can be reinstated. The amount of time that an offender will have to use an IID varies depending on the circumstances of their case, but generally the time limits are as follows:

  • First DUI Conviction: A minimum of 1 year
  • Second DUI Conviction: A minimum of 5 years
  • Third+ DUI Conviction: A minimum of 10 years

After the given period of suspension is served, an offender must apply for license reinstatement. This is not a given and can be denied if within the last 4 months prior to reinstatement the offender:

  • Tried to start the vehicle with a breath alcohol content of .04 or more
  • Failed to take or pass any required retest.
  • Failed to get scheduled maintenance, repairs, calibration, monitoring, inspection, or replacement of the device.

For more information on the laws and workings of Ignition Interlock Devices in Washington, see the complete set of laws or call The Law Offices of Steve Karimi.

Call a Washington IID DUI Attorney

If you have been arrested for DUI in Seattle, you probably have a lot of questions and concerns. The easiest way to address these concerns and get information that is accurate regarding your case is to call an experienced DUI defense lawyer. Attorney Steve Karimi is a DUI attorney who previously worked as a prosecutor for Washington State. He understands the ins and outs of DUI law and can answer all of your questions about IIDs and other issues. Best of all, attorney Steve Karimi will speak to you for a no fee consultation. If you are facing a DUI charge, call The Law Offices of Steve Karimi today for more information.


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