What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

What is an ignition interlock device (IID) and when is it required after a DUI conviction or implied consent violation in SC?

If you have been convicted of DUI in SC, you may have the option of installing the device instead of serving out a license suspension. On the other hand, you may be required to install an IID, and simply serving out the suspension may not be an option. In some cases, you could even be subject to a lifetime requirement of an ignition interlock device.

What is it, how does it work, and what happens if you remove the ignition interlock device or fail the breath test on the device?

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device, or IID, is a breathalyzer test that is installed in your vehicle. The IID measures your blood alcohol content (BAC) and disables your vehicle if your BAC is above .02. Your car won’t start unless you take the test, and it won’t start if the machine says you have alcohol in your system…

The device must be calibrated periodically, and any person with an IID on their vehicle must be monitored by the Department of Probation, Pardon, and Parole and an “ignition interlock service provider.”

SC’s ignition interlock device law can be found in SC Code Section 56-5-2941. While the device is installed in your car, you are allowed to drive with an “ignition interlock restricted license” under SC Code Section 56-1-400.

When is an Ignition Interlock Device Required in SC?

An ignition interlock device may be required if you have been convicted for DUI, DUAC, and, in some cases, if you have an implied consent violation.

Years ago, if you had a DUI conviction you would also get a license suspension. That’s still true, sort of, but now you may have the option of installing an IID instead of serving out the suspension, or, in many cases, you may be required to install an IID instead of serving out the suspension.

SC Code Section 56-5-2990 says that, after a first-offense DUI conviction, you have the option of installing an IID instead of a six-month suspension if you refused the breathalyzer or if you took the breathalyzer and the result was less than .15. If you took the breathalyzer and the result was .15 or higher, you must install the device.

If you are convicted of DUI and you have any prior convictions for DUI in the last ten years, you are required to install an IID and you do not have the option of serving out a suspension period. For a second offense, you must have an ignition interlock device installed for two years. For a third offense, you must have the device installed for three years (or four years if all three DUI convictions were within a five-year period).

For a fourth or greater offense, you are required to install the device for the rest of your life, although the law allows you to apply for reinstatement of your license every five years after your conviction.

What if I Moved Here from Another State?

If you are subject to an ignition interlock device requirement in the state that you are moving from, the requirement will follow you to SC – the length of time you must keep the device on your vehicle is either the length of time required in the state you are moving from or the length of time required in SC, whichever is longer.

You can only obtain a SC driver’s license after you enroll in the SC Ignition Interlock Device Program, and you will only be permitted to drive with the IID installed.

Who Pays for the Ignition Interlock Device and Monitoring?

You must pay for the cost of the device and its monitoring, although you can submit an “affidavit of indigency” to the Department of Probation, Pardon, and Parole to ask for assistance in covering the costs of the device.

What Happens if I Fail the Ignition Interlock Device Alcohol Test?

First, your vehicle won’t start, and you won’t be driving anywhere…

Also, you will be assigned “points” by the probation department based on the test results:

  • One-half point if you blow .02 up to .04;
  • One point if you blow .04 up to .15;
  • Two points if you blow .15 or higher;
  • One and one-half points if you tamper with the device or attempt to get someone else to blow into it for you; and
  • One point if you fail to have the device inspected every 60 days.

What happens if you are assigned points?

  • Two points or more will extend your IID requirement by two months.
  • Three points or more will extend your IID requirement by four months and you may be required to complete substance abuse treatment. If you do not, your license may be suspended indefinitely.
  • Four points or more will result in a six-month suspension of your license and substance abuse treatment. If you don’t complete the treatment program, your license may be suspended indefinitely.

There is a process for an administrative appeal of the assignment of points with the DMV.

What Happens if I Drive Without the Ignition Interlock Device?

If you are subject to an IID requirement, it is a crime to drive any vehicle that is not equipped with the device. The penalties include:

  • First offense – up to one year in prison and an additional six months ignition interlock device requirement;
  • Second offense – up to three years in prison and an additional one-year ignition interlock device requirement; or
  • Third or subsequent offense – up to ten years in prison and an additional three-year ignition interlock device requirement.

Other criminal offenses include tampering with or attempting to disable the device (up to 30 days in jail), providing a vehicle to someone who is under an IID requirement (up to 30 days in jail), and attempting to get another person to start the vehicle for you or take the breathalyzer for you (up to 30 days in jail).

DUI Lawyer in Charleston, SC

Charleston, SC DUI defense attorney Grant B. Smaldone focuses his law practice on criminal defense and DUI defense. Because we don’t spend our time handling car wrecks or divorces, our attention is not divided between different areas of the law, we try more cases, and we feel that we can do a better job for our criminal and DUI defense clients.

If you have been charged with DUI, DUAC, or any DUI related offense in the Charleston, SC area, call SC criminal defense lawyer Grant B. Smaldone now at (843) 808-2100 or contact us through our website to talk to a Charleston, SC DUI defense lawyer today.


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