Arizona DUIs and Ignition Interlock Device FAQ

For the past three decades, every state in America worked to address and strengthen their DUI laws (including replacing the old DWI with the more accurate, inclusive DUI). Arizona in particular enacted a variety of strict penalties against drivers convicted of DUI, even on first offenses, which include an ignition interlock device

One of these penalties is the ignition interlock device, commonly called an IID. Of course, Arizona isn’t the only state with an IID requirement, but it is one of the states with the most stringent guidelines surrounding IIDs.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An IID works much like a breathalyzer. The vendor attaches the IID to your vehicle’s ignition, which will not start until you blow into the device. If your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) exceeds the state’s legal limit of 0.08, the vehicle will not start. In addition, the unit requires the driver to periodically blow into it while the vehicle is in motion. If it detects any alcohol in the driver’s system, your vehicle shuts down.

All 50 states have laws permitting sentencing that includes IID penalties, but Arizona is one of only 15 that automatically require the installation of an ignition interlock device upon any DUI conviction, even in first offenses. Arizona statute requires a minimum penalty of six months, including on DUI offenses not involving alcohol.

The Benefits of the IID Requirement

Since the enactment of Arizona’s IID requirement, deaths due to alcohol impairment dropped by 46 percent. Beyond this very real benefit, though, is the fact that IID installation directly benefits the driver.

Arizona’s IID constraint allows drivers convicted of DUI to continue driving despite their conviction, allowing them to commute to and from work, take the kids to school, and run typical errands. This is thanks to Arizona’s special ignition interlock restricted driver’s license. Arizona drivers who lose their driving privileges due to a DUI first offense may apply for this special license.

This restricted license lasts for the duration of the driver’s suspension or revocation, allowing the driver to continue driving legally while protecting the public against the driver committing a second offense. This is due to the ID ensuring the driver’s vehicle does not start if it detects alcohol above the legal limit.

If the driver has an IID requirement and attempts to operate his or her vehicle while under the influence, the device logs the event. If this happens three times, the IID requirement time period restarts. So, if the driver is 10 months into a 12-month requirement, and attempts to start a vehicle with a BAC over 0.08 for the third time, the 12-month IID requirement starts over. The driver then has the IID installed for 22 months, assuming he or she does not continue attempting to drive while under the influence.

Ignition Interlock Device Enforcement in Arizona

Most states do not conduct random, unannounced checks on drivers with an IID requirement. This is unfortunate, as attempting to circumvent the system is common. Circumvention methods include driving another vehicle, driving a vehicle registered to another person, or attempting to tamper with the IID. Arizona is one of the few states to perform unannounced checks, especially in situations where such checks are warranted. This makes Arizona one of the country’s safest states in regards to enforcement of DUI laws and deterrence of impaired driving.

Installing an Ignition Interlock Device

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) offers drivers a wide variety of information regarding DUI laws and ID requirements.

Installation and costs are the responsibility of the driver, and your license must be reinstated before the IID penalty period begins. You cannot avoid the IID penalty by waiting to reinstate your license, as the clock does not start ticking until you install the device.

ADOT-Approved IID Installation Companies

You must go through an ADOT-approved company when installing an IID on your vehicle. As of January 2017, these include:

For additional information regarding Arizona DUI laws and ignition interlock devices, please contact The Law Office of Edwards & Petersen today.


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