Following a conviction for drunk driving, you must deal with a number of serious consequences, including jail or probation, fines, and court costs. You will also have to face the complicated administrative penalties, including the suspension of your driver’s license. Without driving privileges, you may find it a struggle to fulfill the obligations for which you are responsible.
New Hampshire courts may order anyone convicted of drunk driving to install an ignition interlock system in their vehicles as a requirement for regaining their licenses. While you may think this will give you the freedom to drive again, it is important to understand how tough the restrictions are for driving with an interlock device and how serious the penalties are for a violation.
An ignition interlock is essentially a breathalyzer. When you have one installed in your vehicle, you will be unable to start it or continue driving unless you provide a breath sample that has no traces of alcohol. If the device detects alcohol in your system, it will prevent the vehicle from starting. It will also report the violation to the court. Other violations include the following:
- Failing to receive regular maintenance on the device (at your own expense)
- Tampering with the interlock device
- Trying to remove the device from your vehicle
- Driving another vehicle to avoid using the ignition interlock
- Failing to provide a rolling test as the device prompts or failing a rolling test
- Allowing your service to expire by missing payments
- Neglecting to report that your interlock system has locked you out
A lockout may occur due to any of the above causes, but they mostly occur because of failed breath tests. A permanent lockout may mean you have to pay for someone to tow your vehicle to the interlock service center have a technician reset your device.
Penalties for violations
After a violation, you may be at risk of penalties from the court. These penalties depend on state law as well as the individual circumstances surrounding your conviction and interlock violation. However, some common consequences of interlock violations include removal from the interlock program, an extension of your license suspension or interlock requirements, fines, or even jail.
As you can see, having an ignition interlock system in your vehicle is not the end of your troubles following a drunk driving conviction. In fact, you would be wise to meet with an experienced attorney to discuss your legal rights and options when it comes to ignition interlock penalties and violations.