A simple mistake or lapse in judgment can lead to a serious DWI charge in North Carolina. You could face fines, jail time, and a driver’s license suspension if you are convicted. In some circumstances, North Carolina courts require you to pay to install an ignition interlock device (IID). This device prevents your vehicle from starting if you’ve consumed alcohol. Ignition interlock devices can be expensive and time-consuming to deal with.
You could risk losing your driving privileges if you’ve been arrested and charged with a DWI while driving in North Carolina. If you’re convicted, you could be required by the court to pay to install an ignition interlock device to get your driving privileges back. Even with first-time DWI charges, the ignition interlock device is a real possibility. Contact attorney Joel Hancock of Hancock Law Firm, PLLC today to schedule your free case evaluation.
What Is An Ignition Interlock Device (IID)?
Ignition interlock devices (IID) are frequently used in drunk-driving cases in exchange for additional jail time. More than two decades ago, judges in North Carolina began requiring defendants convicted of DWIs to pay to install ignition interlock devices on their vehicles. Currently, IIDs are generally required as part of DWI sentencing in North Carolina, especially if a defendant wants to drive his or her vehicle.
After the IID has been installed, you must blow into the mouthpiece anytime you’d like your vehicle to start. The IID will disable your vehicle’s engine if the detects alcohol in your breath. Specifically, the IID device will disable the engine if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .00 to .04 percent or higher, depending on whether it’s a first-time DWI offense or a repeat offense.
For example, suppose you opt for limited driving privileges after pleading guilty or being convicted of a DWI. In that case, you may be allowed to drive legally for approved purposes. However, you’ll need to pay to have an IID installed. Judges have the discretion to require the installation of an IID device, even in first-offense DWI cases in which the driver had relatively low blood-alcohol content.
The Benefits of Fighting an Ignition Interlock in North Carolina
Many drivers don’t realize the full negative impact of installing an IID until the device has already been installed. There are many ways an IID can negatively affect your daily routine and life. The cost of the IID can be burdensome as well.
You will be required to pay for all the expenses related to the IID. Several companies contract with the state of North Carolina to provide IID installation, maintenance, and removal services. They will charge you fees for all the following:
- Purchase or rental of the unit
- Monthly service fees
- Repair and maintenance
- Other charges
Depending on how long the court orders you to have the IID installed, these costs could range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. For example, installing and operating the IID device can cost over one thousand dollars if you plan to drive under limited driving privileges.
You will also experience limitations on your personal freedom. Having to blow into an IID device will be extremely inconvenient for you. For example, if you are out and have one glass of wine, you could be stranded along with anyone else who rode with you. It’s possible that the IID would determine that your blood alcohol content (BAC) is too high and disable your engine.
IID Devices Are Notoriously Unreliable
Many drivers must have IID devices installed, noticing that the devices are unreliable. They are not always accurate. The device could issue a positive reading for trace amounts of alcohol, even if you did not consume alcohol. The device might shut off your engine even if you didn’t consume alcoholic beverages. When the IID device fails to work properly, you may not be able to drive from work, errands, and to and from other important events.
IIDs and Work Vehicles
If you’re required to install an IID, you must have the device installed on the vehicle you’ll be driving for the entirety of the court’s order. If you drive another vehicle for work that isn’t your personal vehicle, you won’t be allowed to install the IID on that vehicle. You may not be able to perform your job-related tasks if you can’t drive your company vehicle, putting you at risk of being laid off or terminated from your position.
Defending Yourself in an IID Case
Installing an IID can be expensive and onerous for drivers. Working with an experienced DWI attorney can help you increase your chances of avoiding the requirement of installing an IID. After carefully examining the facts in your case, attorney Joel Hancock will work to develop the best legal strategy that defends your rights.
When prosecutors can’t prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in your DWI case, you can be acquitted or have the charges against you just missed. In many cases, you can test the chemical test results that resulted in your DWI charge. Additionally, suppose this is your first DWI charge. In that case, you may be able to avoid the IID installation requirement if you show that you were not consuming excessive alcohol as an aggravating factor.
Discuss Your Case with a Carteret County DWI Defense Attorney in North Carolina
Avoiding the requirements of an ignition interlock device in North Carolina is one of only a few reasons you should work with an experienced DWI defense attorney. Attorney Joel Hancock has extensive experience and a well-known reputation for effectively defending clients charged with DWI in North Carolina. He will pursue the best outcome in your case from a complete DWI dismissal or an important reduction in the charges and penalties against you. Contact Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, as soon as possible to discuss your case with a skilled DWI attorney.