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How do ignition interlock devices affect your ability to drive?

Making questionable decisions tends to happen to most people at least once during their lifetimes. In many cases, the choices made could have left you feeling foolish or ashamed, but overall, you came out relatively unscathed. Of course, other circumstances could result in a bad decision leading to criminal charges.

Drinking and driving often comes in at the top of the list when discussing bad decisions. Though it may have been a first mistake, you could still face serious consequences if you have DWI charges brought against you and a jury convicts you of those charges. With such an outcome, you could potentially have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.

Ignition Interlock

Due to Leandra's Law, individuals convicted of DWI in New York must have an interlock device installed on their vehicles for a minimum of six months. This device connects to a vehicle's ignition, and the car cannot start until you provide a breath sample that indicates you have not consumed enough alcohol to exceed a pre-programed limit. If you do attempt to use the vehicle with a level over the limit, the device will keep the car from starting.


Even after you start your vehicle, you aren't completely out of the woods. Due to the possibility of a driver starting a vehicle and then consuming alcohol, the device often requires a re-test while you drive. During a re-test, you must provide another breath sample, and if the device detects that alcohol has been consumed, it will attempt to get you to stop the vehicle. However, the device will not cause the vehicle to stop on its own.

Data use

The device also keeps a record of the levels in the breath samples. Periodically, the data transfers to the proper authorities associated with your case. If the data indicates that you attempted to drive while under the influence or suspicion of tampering arises, you could face additional consequences.

Handling criminal charges

Of course, you likely hope to never find yourself in a situation that requires an ignition interlock device installation on your vehicle. Therefore, if authorities accused you of driving while intoxicated, you may wish to explore your legal options for creating a criminal defense. A meaningful and successful defense could potentially allow you to avoid a conviction and limited driving privileges.

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