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What Happens If You Get an Interlock Violation? (2024)

Kaylind Landes
8 minute read

In Oklahoma, like almost every other state, it’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. (Utah is the lone exception, setting its BAC limit at .05%). If you were pulled over when driving with an elevated BAC level, you may receive an aggravated DUI charge. This comes with a host of potential consequences, but there is one certainty. Oklahoma courts require the installation and monitoring of an ignition interlock device when a driver’s BAC levels are .15% or higher, even on the first offense.

The good news is there is a way to avoid having your license revoked as part of Oklahoma’s Impaired Driver Accountability Program (IDAP), which was established via a law passed in 2019. DUI offenders with a court order to install an ignition interlock device can choose to participate in IDAP and keep their driving privileges, with no waiting period.

In this article, we’ll explain what’s important to know about ignition interlock devices and what happens if you get an interlock violation.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)?

An ignition interlock system is more commonly known as a car breathalyzer. This device is installed in vehicles and uses fuel cell technology as a sensor to measure alcohol levels. When a driver enters their vehicle, they must provide a breath sample by blowing into the IID; if the driver’s BAC is over the set point, the vehicle will not start.

A certified technician will install your device and explain in more detail how it works. (Note that it is your responsibility to pay for the IID and its installation.) How long you’ll need to have the IID in your car depends on your specific situation. IDAP requires you to have an IID for the following periods depending on how many DUIs you have in a ten year period:

  • First offense: 6 months
  • Second offense within 10 years: 1 year
  • Third offense within 10 years: 2 years

Why Do Governments Use IIDs?

Research has repeatedly proven that alcohol ignition interlock systems are effective tools for reducing drunk driving, for both first-time and repeat offenders worldwide. Because of their effectiveness, IIDs have been included in the highway safety impaired driving programs of many states. Oklahoma’s IDAP is a prime example.

IIDs are often seen as beneficial to everyone. The devices keep drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel and save thousands of lives. And while having an IID installed may be frustrating for drivers, it allows those with a DUI conviction to regain their full driving privileges and retain their independence.

In Oklahoma, IDAP is beneficial to both the government and its citizens because the program offers an alternative to fighting a DUI in the District Court of Appeals and serving automatic license suspensions. The appeals process is also time consuming and expensive, keeping drivers from returning to regular activities for a long period of time. For DUI offenders, IDAP with its IID requirement is a faster and cheaper way to retain your full driving privileges.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Violation?

There are several ways to be in violation of your ignition interlock order, the first and most obvious being when you blow in excess of the BAC limit on the device. If your breath sample is above this level, the vehicle will not start. If this occurs three times within a 15-minute span, it is a violation.

When you trigger a breath sample violation, the IID will begin a five-day timer. You must contact the service center that installed your IID within this time period to “reset” the device or your car will be in permanent lockout status. If five days after a violation passes and you haven’t been to a service center, your car will not start.

Other ignition interlock violations include (but are not limited to):

  • Failing to install an IID on your vehicle
  • Driving any vehicle not equipped with an IID (unless you have an employer exemption)
  • Tampering with the device
  • Circumventing the device (having someone else blow into it for you)
  • Failing a startup breath test (state-specific BAC)
  • Failing or skipping a rolling retest (state-specific BAC for failing a test)
  • Failing to report a lockout
  • Using the emergency override feature without justification
  • Removing the device without authorization
  • Skipping a mandated service visit
  • Not paying monthly service fees

Also, if you are arrested for another DUI prior to completing the IDAP, this is considered a violation.

What Happens If You Get an Interlock Violation?

The consequences for Oklahoma ignition interlock violations vary somewhat depending on the type of violation and the details of your DUI charge. For example, skipping a service visit for a first-time offender will not be viewed as seriously as tampering with the device by someone with a second DUI offense. Generally speaking, here’s what happens when you get an interlock violation:

  • Extended IID Requirement: You may have to keep the IID installed in your car for a longer period of time. The length of the extension will depend on the severity of the violation and if you have previous violations.
  • License Suspension: Your driver’s license may be temporarily suspended or revoked. In more severe cases, the courts may reinstate the full suspension period with no driving privileges whatsoever.
  • Fines and Penalties: There are often fines associated with IID violations that you’ll have to pay to the state and even the service center. Repeat violations will result in higher fines and penalties.
  • Legal Consequences: Driver’s caught tampering with or circumventing their IID may face additional criminal charges or even jail time. (Note that anyone helping a driver tamper with or circumvent the device can also be charged with a misdemeanor, fined, and sent to jail.)
  • Program Non-Compliance: You may be removed from the IDAP program, as well as required to complete additional programs such as mandatory counseling or educational courses.

Is There a Way to Dismiss My Interlock Violations?

You can contest Interlock violations in court, but winning is rare unless you can clearly demonstrate that the device malfunctioned in some way. Any IID violations will accumulate and be tracked for the length of time you’re required to have the device installed.

The information stored in the IID is downloaded and sent to the state when you take your vehicle to a service center for maintenance. ​​Typically, you need to return to the IID service center for maintenance every 30 days. If you trigger a violation prior to that monthly check-in, you also need to visit the service center to avoid a permanent lockout; the IID’s data will be transferred to the state at that point as well.

How We Can Help

You are able to challenge the ignition interlock requirement in Oklahoma after you’ve been charged with DUI. However, it’s best to speak to a DUI attorney first to review your three options: challenge the driver’s license revocation, apply for the IDAP, or accept the driver’s license revocation. An attorney will also help you navigate what happens after you get an interlock violation.

Tulsa DUI Guy has been helping people get the best possible outcome after a DUI since 2007. We specialize in these cases and can guide you on how to handle your charge and keep it from affecting your life—such as by keeping full driving privileges. Contact us today for a free evaluation.