Chemical breath testing is fast and commonplace. It is now common for bars and restaurants to provide pay-per-use chemical testing units for patrons unsure if they are safe to drive. Even high schools sometimes utilize chemical breath testing to determine if a student has shown up for school or special events like dances while under the influence of alcohol.
One less common place that you sometimes see a chemical breath test is directly installed in the vehicle of a driver. These systems are ignition interlock devices (IIDs), and they help determine the sobriety of a driver before they start their vehicle, as well as occasionally while the vehicle is in motion. Those who fail the test can’t drive. When might a driver in New Hampshire need to install an IID in their car?
Hardship licenses for those accused of impaired driving require an IID
When someone gets arrested for drunk driving, the state suspends their driver’s license. Losing driving privileges can be a major issue for some people, especially if they can’t get to work, school or health care appointments without their own transportation.
In circumstances where there are safety concerns or other issues caused by the loss of licensing, individuals can ask the New Hampshire courts for a hardship license that allows them to drive when their license would otherwise remain suspended. Installing an IID is a typical requirement for those seeking a hardship license after an alcohol-related suspension.
The state can order the installation of an IID after a conviction
It is not just those who need to drive during their license suspension who must install an IID. Those convicted of an impaired driving offense, especially repeat offenders, can also wind up ordered by the courts to install and maintain an IID in their vehicle for between one and two years.
Participation in an IID program is part of the process for getting full driving privileges back after a suspension related to a conviction. Drivers will need to comply with testing requirements and show a habit of safe driving without alcohol in their system.
Those with a hardship license and those transitioning back to driving after a conviction or guilty plea for an impaired driving offense may only be able to drive in vehicles with an IID installed until they get their full license back.