With the turn of the calendar to 2013, a new change came to DUI law in Tennessee. Beginning on January 1, first-time DUI offenders convicted of having a blood alcohol content of .15 or above will be legally required to install a device called the interlock device in his or her vehicle.
What is an interlock device? It’s a device that is wired to a vehicle’s ignition and requires a breath sample before the engine will start. If the device detects alcohol on the driver’s breath, the engine will not start. As the driver operates the vehicle, he or she also will be periodically required to provide breath samples to ensure the continued absence of alcohol in the driver.
What happens if the interlock device detects alcohol? If the device detects alcohol at the start of the drive, the engine simply won’t start. If it detects alcohol during one of the periodic tests while the vehicle is being operated or if the breath sample is not provided when requested, the device will log the event, send a warning to the driver, and will then start an alarm such as honking the horn or flashing lights until the ignition is turned off or until another sample is provided that passes the test.
Who is required to have an interlock device? Tennessee previously allowed for interlock devices for drivers who had been convicted of a second DUI, but the device had never been mandatory. That all changed on January 1. Now, a person convicted of a first DUI who has a blood alcohol level of .15 or above, which is almost twice the legal limit, is required to install an interlock device in his or her vehicle. Moreover, if a driver refuses a Breathalyzer at the scene, he or she will be required to have an interlock device installed in his or her vehicle. Finally, if a driver is convicted of DUI while having a minor in the vehicle, he or she is also subject to a mandatory interlock device.
Who pays for the interlock device? The person convicted of DUI is required to pay to have the device installed by a professional, and the device costs approximately $100 per month to operate.
If you are charged with DUI, it’s important to consult with a knowledgeable DUI attorney to know your rights regarding changes in DUI law.
Posted in Criminal Defense Law Tagged criminal defense attorney, drunk driving, ignition interlock device, Tennessee DUI