Ten Facts About Ignition Interlock Devices In New York

On November 18, 2009, Leandra's Law (The Child Passenger Protection Act) was signed into law by then New York State Governor, David Patterson. One of the many provisions of this law enacted regulations mandating the use of Ignition Interlock Devices in vehicles following a conviction for certain alcohol related driving offenses.

Sec. 119-a of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law defines an Ignition Interlock Device as "[a]ny blood alcohol concentration equivalence measuring device which connects to a motor vehicle ignition system and prevents a motor vehicle from being started without first determining through a deep lung breath sample that the operator's equivalent breath alcohol level does not exceed the calibrated setting on the device as required by section eleven hundred ninety-eight of this chapter."

Below are 10 facts about these devices:

1. Any person sentenced for Driving While Intoxicated ("DWI") on or after August 15, 2010, must maintain and install an Ignition Interlock Device in any vehicle they own or operate.

2. The Ignition Interlock requirement applies to all misdemeanor and felony DWI convictions in the State of New York.

3. The Ignition Interlock requirement applies to first time and repeat offenders.

4 The law does not require a mandatory Ignition Interlock Device in the case of drivers convicted of Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol ("DWAI") (Sec. 1192(1) Vehicle and Traffic Law).

5. Following an eligible conviction, the Ignition Interlock Device requirement must be imposed upon a driver for a minimum period of twelve (12) months.

6. In some cases, a driver can petition the court to have the Ignition Interlock Device removed from their vehicle upon submission of proof that such person installed and maintained an ignition interlock device for at least six months (Sec. 1193(1)(b)(ii) Vehicle and Traffic Law).

7. Sec. 1198(9)(e) of the Vehicle and Traffic Law makes the following conduct punishable as a class "A" misdemeanor:

No person whose driving privilege is restricted pursuant to this article or the penal law shall request, solicit or allow any other person to blow into an ignition interlock device, or to start a motor vehicle equipped with the device, for the purpose of providing the person so restricted with an operable motor vehicle (Sec. 1198(9)(a) Vehicle and Traffic Law);

No person shall blow into an ignition interlock device or start a motor vehicle equipped with the device for the purpose of providing an operable motor vehicle to a person whose driving privilege is so restricted (Sec. 1198(9)(b) Vehicle and Traffic Law);

No person shall tamper with or circumvent an otherwise operable ignition interlock device (Sec. 1198(9)(c) Vehicle and Traffic Law);

No person subject to a court ordered ignition interlock device shall operate a motor vehicle without such device (Sec. 1198(9)(d) Vehicle and Traffic Law).

8. Subject to very stringent requirements (Sec. 1198(8) Vehicle and Traffic Law), a person who is subject to an Ignition Interlock order may operate their employer's motor vehicle in the course and scope of their employment without an ignition interlock device only during the course and scope of such employment and only if:

The employer has been notified that the person's driving privilege has been restricted with regard to the Ignition Interlock requirement;

The person whose privilege has been so restricted has provided the court and the probation department with written documentation indicating the employer has knowledge of the interlock restriction and has granted permission for the person to operate the employer's vehicle without the device and only for business purposes;

The person must notify the court and the probation department of his or her intention to so operate the employer's vehicle.

9. The Ignition Interlock Device requirement applies to out-of-state drivers convicted of Driving While Intoxicated in the State of New York.

10. In instances where the individual is sentenced to a period of incarceration as a result of a Driving While Intoxicated conviction, the court shall impose probation or a conditional discharge, and installation of an interlock device to run consecutively to and shall commence immediately upon release from imprisonment.

Approximately, 25 States, including New York, require the installation of Ignition Interlock Devices for all convicted Driving While Intoxicated offenders who register a BAC of .08 or greater at the time of their arrest (citation). While these facts and this discussion are limited to the State of New York, it is clear that over time, mandatory Ignition Interlock Devices for all DWI convictions will be required throughout the United States.

Having spent the majority of my legal career involved in the prosecution and defense of DWI cases, I welcome you to explore my website, learn about my background as an attorney and contact me to discuss your DWI case (or any other matter requiring the services of a Rockland County Criminal Defense Attorney).

Brian Berkowitz, is a former prosecutor and a DWI, Criminal Defense and Traffic Ticket Attorney representing clients in Rockland County and the State of New York.

Law Office of Brian Berkowitz, 222 North Main Street, New City, NY 10956. 845-638-9200.

WEB: www.Berklaw.com

TWITTER: @BerklawBrian

FACEBOOK: Law Office of Brian Berkowitz

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