Ignition Interlock Devices: An Overview of the Current Law in Florida
According to the Tampa Bay Times state legislators in Florida filed approximately 1,900 bills during the 2017 regular session, 234 of which were passed by both the House and the Senate. One of the many bills that failed was House Bill 949 which, if passed into law, would have required first-time DUI offenders to have ignition interlock devices installed in their cars for six months.
What’s an Ignition Interlock Device?
An ignition interlock device (also known as an IID) is a dashboard-mounted breathalyzer that prevents the vehicle that it is installed in from starting if the driver has been drinking. In order to turn on a car that is equipped with an ignition interlock device the driver must first test their breath alcohol concentration (BAC) by blowing into the IID. If the amount of alcohol detected on the driver’s breath exceeds the pre-programmed level then the vehicle will not start. While ignition interlock devices differ a bit from brand to brand, most IIDs impose a waiting time on drivers who breathe into the device and register an unacceptable BAC. The first time that alcohol is detected on a driver’s breath the wait time is generally only a few minutes, but if the driver fails subsequent tests then the driver is generally locked out for increasingly longer periods. Additionally, many IIDs also conduct random rolling retests while the engine is running.
Florida’s Current Ignition Interlock Device Laws
Despite the fact that House Bill 949 didn’t pass, Florida law still requires some DUI offenders to use ignition interlock devices. Whether or not an individual convicted of drunk driving in Florida is required to use an IID depends primarily on how many prior DUI convictions the individual has, the offender’s BAC, and whether or not a minor was riding in the vehicle at the time of the offense.
First DUI Convictions: Courts in Florida have the discretion to order an IID for first-time DUI offenders for a period of at least six months. However, if the offender’s BAC was 0.15 percent or higher, or if a minor was present in the vehicle at the time of the offense then IID installation is mandatory on all vehicles that the offender individually or jointly leases or owns and routinely operates for at least six months.
Second DUI Convictions: When an individual in Florida is convicted of a second DUI the court is required to order an IID to be installed on the offender’s vehicle for at least one year. However, the penalty is increased and the IID must be installed for at least two years if the driver’s BAC was 0.15 percent or higher, or if a minor was riding in the car at the time of the offense.
Third DUI Convictions: A repeat offender who is convicted of a third DUI offense is required to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle for at least two years.
Have You Been Injured by a Drunk Driver?
If you’ve been injured in an alcohol-related crash know that the experienced car accident lawyers of Piccin & Glynn are here to help. Our firm has handled hundreds of auto accident cases in Florida and is well prepared to answer your questions, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and pursue the compensation that you are legally entitled to by filing a personal injury claim if necessary. Contact our Ocala office today either via our online contact form or by calling (800) 969-5446 to schedule a free initial consultation.