New OWI Ignition Interlock Device Law
Wisconsin State Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) has proposed a new OWI ignition interlock device law that would require any and all vehicles that a convicted drunk driver will operate to have an ignition interlock device installed. Currently, Wisconsin OWI law and DUI law in most states only require an ignition interlock device to be installed on the driver’s primary vehicle. This is where the loophole exists. A convicted drunk driver can still drive someone else’s car, a car without the device. If the driver is caught by police, only a citation is issued. Senator Wanggaard’s bill would require a convicted OWI driver to carry a special driver’s license that would only allow the driver to drive cars with ignition interlock devices installed. That means that every car in the driver’s household would have to have the device installed.
An ignition interlock device requires a driver to blow into a breath test device to prove he or she is sober. If the breath test machine registers any amount of blood alcohol content, the car will not start. After the car starts, the machine requires the driver to periodically blow into it to prove continued sobriety. If the driver fails the running breath test, the car will continue to run because of safety concerns. But either the car’s lights will flash continuously, or the car’s horn will sound. This will attract police attention and the driver will be stopped. Other safeguards built into an ignition interlock device include temperature and air gauges that are designed to prevent your friend from blowing into the machine.
An ignition interlock device typically costs about $70 to $150 for installation and about $60 to $80 per month for calibration and monitoring. So the proposed Wisconsin OWI bill would increase the financial hardship for a convicted drunk driver. In most states, interlock companies provide interlock devices for offenders who can’t afford them, or states will cover interlock costs for these offenders. Ignition interlock device laws vary by state. Contact a local OWI attorney now to discuss ways to win your OWI case.