Minnesota Ignition Interlock Device and DWIs

The DWI’s laws are changing in Minnesota, there is now the ability to get your license back sooner if you get an  “ignition interlock device”, which is a small machine that measures the blood-alcohol level of an automobile driver and is required before starting the car.  To use the device, a driver must blow into a small tube before starting the car.  If the driver fails the test, the car will not start, and new criminal charges may result.  Most states have laws that authorize the use of ignition interlock devices in DWI cases.  The devices are a boon to MN DWI defendants, but they can also be a plague.

The first time that you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, you may continue driving if you submit to the use of an ignition interlock device.  In other cases, the court may order the use of an ignition interlock device for a period of time after a defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty.

Details on the ignition interlock device vary from state to state and case to case.  Minnesota  requires the offender to pay for the rental and installation of the device, and the costs can be substantial.  The device can be embarrassing, as it must be operated each and every time the driver gets in the car.  Some of the devices take photographs of the driver, and a driver can even be required to take a test while driving.

For all the difficulties posed by the ignition interlock device, it is sometimes attractive to a Minnesota DWI defendant because it allows the person to continue driving while under the pain of prosecution.  Prior to the creation of and implementation of the ignition interlock device, most DWI defendants simply lost their licenses and were unable to drive at all.  Considering that driving is a practical necessity for most people, the ignition interlock device is often the best solution a DWI defendant has.

However, the devices are not infallible.  You may find that you are opening yourself up to additional charges based on the omnipresence of this little gadget.  The device may malfunction, and suddenly you find yourself facing new, automatic, computer-generated criminal charges, thanks to the wonders of modern technology.

If you are charged with a DWI you will want to consider the long-term use of an Ignition Interlock Device and how that may affect your lifestyle if you just go and plead guilty.  You do have a defense to DWI criminal charges spawned by this fancy little trinket, and a good DWI attorney can present those defenses for you.

Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office, Chtd.
Mankato, Minnesota

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