Penalties for Ignition Interlock Device Violations

An IID or ignition interlock device is an electronic tool installed in vehicles and designed to detect if the driver has alcohol on his breath. The device is specifically for DUI offenders, particularly those who have been convicted more than once.


Although there are general penalties, each state in the U.S. follows its own guidelines and ignition interlock device installation laws. For example, in Florida, if a first-time DUI offender registered a blood alcohol level of 0.15 or higher, or if he had a minor passenger at the time of the arrest, the IID should stay in his vehicle for six months. Some states have similar laws, while some others have different penalties for such violations.


If you are a vehicle owner or driver, learning everything you can about DUI and IID laws is a must regardless of which state you reside in. Knowing what to do when you are arrested for driving under the influence is important. Familiarizing the penalties for ignition interlock device violations is also essential.

IID Violations

Ignition interlock device violations may vary by state, but the types of violations are the same throughout the country.

– Driving or operating a motor vehicle without an ignition interlock device: Drivers with prior DUI convictions commit the most common violation. Refusing to install an IID has corresponding penalties in all states.

– Operating a car without an IID and with a BAC higher than the limit: Drivers that register a BAC higher than 0.025% or whatever is the limit in your area, and without an IID, will upgrade a DUI offense to a misdemeanor.

– Breathing into an IID to start a vehicle for a driver with a restricted license: A driver with a limited license asking someone else to breathe into the device for him is a clear violation of ignition interlock device laws.

– Tampering with the ignition interlock device: Interfering or tampering with the IID is equivalent to disabling it. Drivers who commit this violation will face several penalties.

– Failing rolling retests: DUI convicted drivers must perform rolling retests at intervals dictated by the IID. Ignition interlock devices can detect when a driver fails the retest, leading to additional penalties.

– Violating IID laws when driving with a hardship license: A hardship license is a limited license given to drivers whose license was suspended or revoked. Committing another DUI or an IID violation will result in new penalties.

– Violating IID laws when driving with a reinstated license: A reinstated license is given to drivers with previous DUI convictions. After adhering to penalties, these drivers apply for license reinstatement. However, a reinstated license can be revoked if a driver commits an IID violation.


In some states, failing to commit to service visits is also considered an ignition interlock device violation.

IDD Penalties

The penalties for ignition interlock device violations are as follows.

1. Fines, Jail Time

Fines and jail time are the most common penalties for breaking IID laws. The fine amount varies from state-to-state and depends on the violation.

For drivers caught operating a car without an IID, including those with a BAC higher than the limit, the fine can range from $1,000 to a maximum of $5,000. The same amount is fined for those who violate the law by asking someone else to breathe into the device for him.

Drivers caught tampering with an IID also have to pay a fine. Again, the amount depends on which state the violator lives in or was arrested. Some states slap drivers with a $300 to $1,000 fine.

Jail time also varies by state. Typically, jail time is from 90 days to 180 days or not more than 2 ½ years. Second convictions result in a longer stay in jail, usually from three to five years.

In some states, the above violations are considered misdemeanors. Some states, such as Massachusetts, impose imprisonment in a correctional facility instead of fining the violator.


2. Alcohol Rehabilitation Programs, Community Service

Depending on the violation’s severity, drivers can be slapped with additional penalties aside from fines and jail time.

Each state has rehabilitation and community service programs for DUI and IID violators. These activities are scheduled, and missing one or two can lead to more problems for drivers.


3. License Suspensions, Loss of License

If a driver with a hardship license is arrested for an IID violation, his license will be revoked. Additionally, he will not be able to use his license (and operate a vehicle) for ten years.

For IID violators with reinstated license, their license will be revoked

and they will not be able to use it for ten years.

A lifetime loss of license is the typical penalty for drivers who miss or fail rolling retests twice.

Following DUI and IID laws is the best way to prevent the violations and penalties mentioned above from becoming a part of your life. If you need more information about ignition interlock device laws, or are seeking legal advice, get in touch with a DUI lawyer.




About the Author

Lauren McDowell is the Content Marketing Strategist for Interlock Install, a Phoenix-based company that performs the installations, service appointments, and removals for ADS Interlock. When not writing, she attends book clubs and enjoys reading stories to her kids.

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