The State of Michigan is increasingly using alcohol ignition interlock devices to keep drunk drivers off the road. Although it is better to drive with a device than to lose your license, it’s not cheap. Our criminal defense lawyers are often asked ‘how much does an alcohol ignition interlock device cost in Michigan?’
People who are convicted of DUI/OWI in Michigan face many pressures. They may lose their job or drop out of a college course because of a drunk driving conviction. The cost of using an alcohol ignition interlock device presents another financial burden. At George Law, our experienced Michigan DUI team will explain all of the options available to you post-arrest and fight the charges against you.
What is an Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device?
Although the terminology sounds complicated, an alcohol ignition interlock device is simply a small breathalyzer connected to your car. Driving with a device, sometimes called BAIID (Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device), can be daunting but it’s better than the alternative of losing your license for most people.
Drivers who have an alcohol ignition interlock device must blow into the device to start their car. If they are sober the car will start. If the device detects alcohol, the car will not start and you face the loss of your driver’s license.
Ignition interlock devices are very sensitive to alcohol. It’s not enough to be under the Michigan DUI arrest level of 0.08 percent blood/alcohol content. Devices are typically set to around 0.02 BAC. They may not work if you consumed any amount of alcohol, even minute quantities of alcohol in products such as medication or mouthwash.
The device records everything. If you fail a test, the car won’t start. It will prevent you from getting in your vehicle and starting it for either a certain amount of time or until you provide a clean breath sample.
People who have an ignition interlock device must also submit to rolling retests. The tests are meant to prevent you from getting a sober friend or family to start your car and then driving it after your consumed alcohol. During the rolling retest, the device alerts drivers giving them time to take a test when it’s safe to do so. If you fail to submit a sample within the time limit or fail the test, the car will log the issue, sound an alarm, and keep honking the horns or flashing your hazards until you pull over.
Drivers who are charged with DUI/OWI in Michigan face the suspension of their license for six months. The period rises to a year if your BAC is 0.17 or higher. However, motorists can apply to have their driving privileges restored through the Michigan Driver Appeal and Assessment Division (DAAD) of the Michigan Secretary of State. You can apply after serving just 30 days of your license suspension. If you are successful and were convicted with a BAC level from 0.08 to 0.17 you may be allowed to drive as long as an alcohol ignition interlock device is fitted to your car. You must drive with the device for at least 12 months.
People arrested with a BAC of 0.17 are known as ‘super drunk’ offenders. After a 45-day hard license suspension, they must buy an ignition interlock device to drive on a restricted license.
Can Habitual Offenders Drive with an Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device?
Michigan has a “zero tolerance” law for habitual DUI offenders. The state defines habitual drunk or drugged driving offenders as people with.
- Two or more convictions in the space of seven years.
- Three or more convictions within 10 years.
The Office of the Secretary of State is required to revoke the driver’s license of a habitual offender and deny any application for a replacement license.
After the minimum period of revocation/denial – typically five years – a habitual offender may be eligible to attend a driver’s license appeal hearing. If the habitual offender receives a restricted license, the hearing officer must order a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) on any vehicle he or she owns or wants to operate. The offender cannot drive until the device has been properly installed by an registered operator. The driver on a restricted license must keep the interlock ignition device on the car until the Secretary of State’s office authorizes removal.
Is there an Installation Cost for an Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device Cost in Michigan?
The Michigan Secretary of State keeps a list of providers of ignition interlock devices in the state. There are variations but the installation fee runs from $100 to $200. All six companies authorized to install ignition interlock devices in Michigan are from out of state.
Does an Offender Have to Pay Rental Fees for an Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device in Michigan?
Yes. Rental fees run from $70 to $100 a month for alcohol ignition interlock devices on vehicles in Michigan. The driver is responsible for all costs associated with the program. The alcohol ignition interlock machine is likely to cost most users over $1,000 a year. However, many drivers see this as being cheaper than the alternative of no longer being able to drive.
What Happens if You Fail an Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device Test in Michigan?
Failing an ignition interlock devices test can be a nightmare for a driver because it results in the loss of his or her driver’s license.
In some cases, drivers lose their licenses even when they were not at fault. Sometimes drivers fail to take a rolling retest, not because they are drunk, but because they feel they don’t have time to take it safely or are not even in the vehicle when they are notified to take the test. Unfortunately, the courts will assume you were drinking and take away your license. Your criminal defense lawyer can represent you at a hearing and argue you made a mistake but did not consume alcohol.
Ask a Michigan DUI/OWI Lawyer How Much an Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device Costs in Michigan
At George Law, we know how much a DUI/OWI can disrupt your life. Increasing numbers of drunk driving offenders are now allowed on the road as long as an alcohol ignition interlock device is fitted on their cars. However, it’s not always obvious how much an interlock device will cost, how the system works, and how long the device must be fitted for. We can help you with all of these questions. We can represent you at your drunk driving hearing and do everything in our power to get you back on the road as soon as possible. Please see our client reviews or call us at 248-470-4300 to make an appointment at our law office in Royal Oak.