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Ignition Interlock Device Violations & Consequences

Every interlock on the market requires users to provide a breath alcohol content (BrAC) sample in order to start their vehicle. Though it varies by state, the typical allowable limit is around .02 percent.

What happens if my BrAC is over the limit?

Ignition interlock devices are also known as car breathalyzers. To take a BrAC test, the driver is required to blow air into the device. Once the sample is given, the IID uses technology to measure the alcohol level in their breath. 

If you test your BrAC and it is over the limit (typically around .02 percent), this will result in a failed sample, and a violation is reported to the state’s monitoring authority. You will have to wait until you pass the test to be able to start the car, but keep in mind that all failures are reported.

Most states allow drivers to try again after a failed test, but multiple failures in a row can result in a lockout. 

The consequences for testing failures vary by state. In all cases, your car will not start. Additionally, you may run into the following scenarios depending on where you live: 

  • You will be able to keep providing samples until you pass the test and your car starts. However, each failure is recorded. 
  • Your device may lock you out after repeated failures in a row. This may require contacting customer support at your provider to resolve. The number of failed tests before a lockout varies by state.

Each state has its own requirements for reporting, and you should be sure you understand them thoroughly. Variations may include:

  • Some states require failed or missed tests to be reported within seven days, some within three, and others within two.
  • Some states require a report of all device activity every 60 days.
  • Some states follow guidelines set by the county or probation officer who is monitoring the device.


What happens if I fail multiple breath tests in a row?

All states allow drivers to submit a second sample if they fail the first breath test. However, multiple failures in a row can result in a lockout. A lockout requires contacting your provider’s customer support to sort it out, and in the meantime, you will be unable to drive.


What happens if a driver fails a random IID breath retest?

Interlock devices request random retests during most trips to ensure the driver stays sober after the initial test. The device will warn the driver several minutes in advance, so they have time to pull over if needed. 

If you fail the test, your vehicle will NOT stop short. You will be able to complete your trip, but once it is over your device may initiate a lockout. If you miss a random retest, you may also be locked out.


Consequences of tampering with an IID

You should know that tampering with your IID is very serious. If you or someone else tampers with your IID and it is damaged, report it immediately. Drivers who attempt to circumvent the device may receive a violation or more severe penalties, like fines and an increased interlock term. 


What are ignition interlock violation penalties?

The penalties you face vary by state. Many states will allow users to test multiple times until they pass a BrAC test. In other states, the device will go into lockout after a certain number of failures. Each state has its own rules, and your attorney or interlock provider should be able to tell you the specifics of your IID.


Who receives notice of IID violations?

Your interlock device records all testing incidents, pass or fail, and reports them to the state monitoring authority. Consequences for failures vary by state, and your interlock provider or attorney should be able to help you determine consequences in your state. 

Even if your failed tests are due to an error, or you miss a random retest, these failures are still reported and you are still responsible for them. This is also the case if you share a vehicle, and your co-owner fails a test. 

The monitoring authority varies by state - in some areas, it is the Department of Transportation, in others it may be the DMV. 

Different states have different reporting methods, including: 

  • Real-time reporting: These are reported to state monitoring authorities in real-time, and compliance experts review them and escalate them if necessary. 
  • During calibration: All interlock users must have their device calibrated at intervals determined by the state, usually every 30 to 120 days. During calibration, the device data is downloaded and reviewed by a compliance team, who escalates violations to a monitoring authority if needed.

If you have more general questions about violations, Interlock.com can help. If you have questions about a specific device, contact the appropriate interlock provider for assistance.