New York DWI – Ignition & Vehicle Interlock Device

A fairly common question asked of drunk driving defense lawyers is whether or not a client arrested for a DWI or DUI charge in NY, and ultimately convicted of a VTL 1192 crime, must install an ignition interlock device. As a follow up to that question, although it would reason that it would be asked first, many an accused will then ask what is an ignition interlock device and what are the practical realties and concerns about its placement or installation on their car, SUV, truck or any other vehicle.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device

The ignition interlock device is similar to an Intoxilyzer or Breathalyzer installed in your vehicle. Before the automobile will start, you must blow into the machinery. The equipment will then measure your blood alcohol content (BAC) before engaging the engine. If your BAC is recorded at .045 or higher, then the vehicle will not start. Even assuming the vehicle does start, your involvement or interaction with the reader will not end there. In fact, many require that you take a "rolling test." That is, at random times you will be required to submit to a test while you are driving. If you fail the exam, the car lights may start flashing and horning honking. The vehicle may even safely turn off and be otherwise disabled. Whether or not a police officer observes this response for a failed test, the proof of your breath test will be preserved for later examination and review in the event you are arrested and prosecuted.

Is Installation Mandatory

The simple answer is “yes.” Should you be convicted of any NYS drunk driving crime – VTL 1192.2, VTL 1192 3, or VTL 1192.2-a, etc. – you will be required to install an ignition interlock device in addition to any other civil or criminal penalties. Keep in mind that in the eyes of the law, if a vehicle is registered to you or you rent a car for road trip in another state, it is of no consequence. Any and all vehicles must have an interlock device in them should you want to operate them in any capacity and for any duration of time.

Cost & Fees

A DWI vehicle interlock device is far from free. Installation and monitoring is not paid by the State or City of New York but by you, the person arrested and convicted of DUI. The fee to install the device is approximately $100. The fee for monthly monitoring is roughly the same.

Associated Crimes and VTL 1198

Beyond the VTL 1192 DWI crime for which you have been convicted, there are other offenses in the Vehicle and Traffic Law that address the misuse or manipulation of an interlock. For example, it is a misdemeanor to solicit another person to blow in the ignition interlock or blow into the device on someone's behalf. If you tamper with the interlock equipment or operate any other car or automobile that does not contain such machinery despite a court order mandating that one be affixed, then you will face additional misdemeanor charges. These ignition interlock crimes are all set forth under Article 1198 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law. They include:

  • VTL 1198(9)(a)
  • VTL 1198(9)(b)
  • VTL 1198(9)(c)
  • VTL 1198(9)(d)

Remember, you can find yourself charged with more than one of these offenses and face up to one year in jail for each of them respectively.

Your Case, Your Defense, Your Future

The ignition interlock device is not only an expensive deterrent to a DWI, but an embarrassing one that can result in new crimes if you try to manipulate the machine or fail to adhere to its proper and legal usage. Before accepting any plea deal that will require this equipment and to ensure an understanding the realities of installing the same, consult with the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan DWI prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC so experienced, knowledge and advocacy can be your best defense.

Call the New York ignition interlock lawyers and former New York County prosecutors at 212.312.7129 or contact us online today.

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