Ignition Interlock Device Program

Individuals convicted of DWI or Aggravated DWI in New York State are required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in any car which they own or operate. This law applies to VTL Sections 1192(2)(2-a) and (3) but not to 1192(1) (4) or (4-a). For a misdemeanor DWI conviction, the requirement is that the IID must be installed for at least six months. This requirement is probably the most widely disliked of any of the consequences for a DWI conviction. Having seen these devices demonstrated at CLE programs, I agree that the requirement to install and use one of these devices is quite onerous. Aside from the inconvenience and embarrassment, there is also the cost, which would be between $500 and $750 for six months including installation.

If the IID is required as part of an individual's sentence, the individual would have to get the device installed withing ten business days of sentencing and submit proof within three days of installation. The IID works by measuring your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), by means of a breath test, and preventing the car from starting if your BAC exceeds a set point of .025%. This is a BAC level which many lighter individuals would reach after just one drink. The device requires you to blow into it before starting your car and then requires you to submit to what are called "rolling tests." In the event that you fail a start-up test or a rolling test, you are required to take a retest. If you fail or miss either a start-up retest or a rolling retest, or if you miss an appointment to service the unit, the device will go into "lockout mode" and the car will become inoperable within five days. It is a misdemeanor to circumvent the IID by having someone else blow into it for you or by driving a car without an IID. The law requires the sentenced individual to have an IID installed in any vehicle he owns or operates, including leased, rented, and loaned vehicles. 

There is one exception to the requirement that the IID be installed in any car which the individual drives. The law permits operation of an employer's car during the course and scope of the driver's employment. However, the driver must notify his employer and provide proof that the employer was, in fact, notified. Further, the car cannot be owned by a business entity that is wholly or partly owned by the individual subject to the IID requirement. 

Many people faced with having to install an IID simply get rid of their car. This is an available option in New York State. While most drivers upstate cannot simply not drive, it is relatively easy to get by without a car if you live in or near NYC. If you are convicted of DWI in New York City and choose to simply not own or operate a car, you will have to fill out an affidavit and submit it to the IID Coordinator. Since I share many of my client's distaste for the IID, I generally recommend this course of action. The only caveat is that your non-ownership of a car must be genuine.

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