Ignition Interlock Device and Washington Law

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Feb 19

Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws

Ignition Interlock Device and Washington Law

by Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws

Ignition Interlock Device and Washington Law

The last decade has seen some significant changes regarding the laws surrounding DUI interlock devices in the state of Washington, both as a “deterrent” to driving under the influence and as a punishment once a person is convicted of DUI.

Currently, anyone who is convicted of a DUI offense in the state is required to have an ignition interlock device placed on their vehicle—and to pay all the fees associated with that device.

The Washington DOL can require a person to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle for other situations as well. Many courts in Washington currently require that an ignition interlock device be installed as a pretrial condition of release.

Washington’s ignition interlock laws can, however, be viewed in a more positive light, as they can allow an individual to continue driving while under a DUI license suspension—particularly those who must drive as a condition of their employment, or whose lives would be impossible to manage without a driver’s license. When you consider the fact that most Americans spend a considerable amount of time in their vehicles—whether commuting to and from work, taking children to school and after-school activities, or running the myriad of errands most of us run on a regular basis—you can see how difficult it would be to be without your driver’s license.

A driver who is under a license suspension is required to exhibit some type of evidence of an ignition interlock device, as well as evidence they have SR-22 insurance in order to continue to drive where they want, when they want. The installation of the IID is now mandatory, however—under prior Washington laws, it was considered “permissive.” This meant that a person convicted of DUI could either obtain an ignition interlock device which would allow them to continue to drive, or they could simply choose not to drive. Under current Washington laws, even if you do not choose to drive or even if you do not own a car, IID installation is mandatory (if you do not own a car, you may be required to wear a SCRAM bracelet, which detects any consumption of alcohol).

What are the DUI Suspension Rules in Washington?

Anyone arrested for DUI is required to have their driver’s license suspended for a period of no less than 90 days and no more than 2 years, depending on their driving record. This suspension can be contested, however, you must request an administrative hearing within 20 days from the date you are arrested.

If the hearing goes in your favor, your driver’s license suspension will be removed, although this is entirely separate from your criminal DUI charges.

If you are convicted of a DUI during your criminal trial, you can still have your driver’s license suspended, meaning the results of the administrative hearing have no bearing on your criminal DUI case and subsequent license suspension.

Additional Ignition Interlock Device Rules

As noted, any driver convicted of DUI must have an ignition interlock device installed, and, in some cases, even a reckless or negligent driving conviction will also require an IID. The interlock device must be installed on all vehicles you routinely drive and prevent you from starting your vehicle when your BAC is above the pre-programmed level. The IID also tests your BAC at random intervals while you are driving. Should you fail the IID test, the information will be recorded, and you will be signaled to pull over, via your lights and/or your horn.

If you are convicted of a subsequent DUI, after having a mandated IID installed for the prior DUI, then the period your IID device will be required to be installed will be longer. If you were driving under the influence with a child under the age of 16 in your vehicle, you will have to have your IID device installed for a longer period of time as well.

Have you or someone you love been arrested and charged with a DUI? Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers at Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws

If you are charged with a DUI, it is definitely in your best interests to contact an experienced Seattle DUI attorney as quickly as possible to minimize the consequences of your charges.

The expert defense team at Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws, PLLC vigorously defend the rights of individuals facing a multitude of charges in Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland. Contact us today at 206.209.0608 or fill out our online contact form to get more information or to get a free case review!

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