Do I Have to Have Ignition Interlock Installed on DWI Cases?

Oct 5, 2023   General

Facing a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) charge can be a daunting experience, and it often leads to a myriad of questions about the legal consequences. One common concern is whether or not you’ll be required to have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed in your vehicle as a result of a DWI conviction. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the specifics of when and why an IID might be required and what you can expect in such cases.

Understanding Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs)

An Ignition Interlock Device is a breathalyzer installed in your vehicle that prevents the engine from starting if it detects alcohol on your breath. It’s commonly used as a measure to deter individuals from driving while under the influence of alcohol and to ensure road safety.

When Is an IID Required?

The requirement to install an IID varies from state to state, and even within states, it can differ based on specific circumstances and the severity of the DWI offense. However, here are some common situations where an IID may be mandated:

  1. First-Time DWI Offense: In many states, a first-time DWI offender may not be required to install an IID unless there are aggravating factors involved, such as an exceptionally high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or the presence of a minor in the vehicle.
  2. Subsequent Offenses: If you have previous DWI convictions, the likelihood of being required to install an IID increases significantly. Repeat offenders often face stricter penalties, including mandatory IID installation.
  3. High BAC In some jurisdictions, a high BAC at the time of arrest, typically significantly above the legal limit, may result in IID installation, even for first-time offenders.
  4. Accidents or Injuries: If your DWI offense resulted in an accident with injuries or fatalities, the court may impose harsher penalties, including the mandatory use of an IID.
  5. Court Discretion: In certain cases, the judge overseeing your DWI case may have the discretion to order IID installation, even if it’s not explicitly required by law.

Benefits of Installing an IID

While the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device may seem burdensome, it’s essential to consider the potential benefits:

  1. License Restoration: In some states, having an IID installed may be a requirement to reinstate your driver’s license after a DWI suspension.
  2. Reduced Jail Time: In some cases, installing an IID can be a condition for a reduced jail sentence or probation.
  3. Demonstrating Responsibility: Installing an IID can demonstrate to the court your commitment to responsible driving and sobriety, potentially resulting in more lenient sentencing.
  4. Preventing Future Offenses: IIDs serve as a deterrent, reducing the likelihood of repeat DWI offenses.


Whether or not you’ll be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle as a result of a DWI case depends on various factors, including the laws in your jurisdiction, the specifics of your offense, and any prior convictions. It’s crucial to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in DWI cases to understand your rights and legal obligations.

Remember, the best way to avoid the legal and personal consequences of a DWI is to never drink and drive. Always have a designated driver, use public transportation, or arrange for a taxi or rideshare service when you’ve consumed alcohol.

If you find yourself facing a DWI charge, seek legal advice promptly to navigate the legal process and make informed decisions about your defense strategy. Your attorney can provide you with tailored guidance based on the specifics of your case and jurisdiction.