Can I avoid the Ignition Interlock Device in Phoenix, AZ?

by Aaron Black • November 14, 2019

Drinking and Driving RepercusssionsArizona’s ignition interlock program allows those convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in Phoenix, AZ and surrounding communities to continue driving to certain places after the suspension or revocation of the license to drive is lifted.

Arizona was one of the first states to require an ignition interlock device (IID) in first offense DUI cases. To be eligible for a special ignition interlock restricted driver’s license (SIIRDL) a person must have completed license suspension or revocation before moving to a license restricted by an IID.

The driver is required to have an IID for a year or in repeat offender cases even longer. Until 2007 an IID was mandatory for only six months.

Arizona Revised Statute 28-1464 requires many of those convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol to install an IID that detects alcohol on the breath.

If the IID mounted on the dashboard registers any amount of alcohol it prevents the vehicle’s engine from starting. The devices generally aren’t fitted to motorcycles. The IID has a breathalyzer that detects alcohol when the driver exhales into it. Newer IIDs are equipped with a digital camera, global positioning system and sending results wirelessly or electronically to track the activities of the user and record any violations.

Besides the initial start-up test, the IID may demand random breath samples while en-route, called a “rolling test.” Should the motorist not respond the machine will sound a warning and then an alarm until the driver turns off the ignition? For road safety concerns the IID won’t shut off the engine while in motion.

Tampering with an IID

It’s imperative to honor the court’s order to have an IID installed and trying to defeat it brings more trouble.

Tampering with an IID, getting someone else to exhale into the breathalyzer for you, renting, leasing or borrowing a vehicle, or lending one to the convicted person brings an additional class 1 misdemeanor charge for you and the other person involved. If you’re on probation defeating or attempting to defeat an IID could be a probation violation. Trying to defeat an IID also extends its use for six months.

Such additional violations result in expulsion from the IID program and license suspension or revocation. Also, anyone who doesn’t provide documented proof that an IID has been installed within 72 hours of the court order can result in the suspension of the restricted driver’s license.

However, the law allows for an exception. A person who must use an IID may use another vehicle to drive in a “substantial emergency” if someone else isn’t “reasonably available” to respond to the emergency. The law doesn’t define what can be a substantial emergency.

IID Restricted License Limitations

A license that is restricted by an IID limits your destination to specific locations. These are from home to work, school, alcohol treatment programs, meetings with a probation officer, medical appointments, and IID maintenance sessions.

Can an IID Detect Drug Use?

The IID currently used by Arizona law enforcement can’t detect prescription or illicit drugs so Arizona in 2012 passed Senate Bill 1228 that removed the IID requirement from drug DUI sentences.

But researchers are working to develop a device that can detect drugs. In 2013 a breath testing device developed in Sweden identified 12 controlled drugs including cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine, and morphine. Researcher Olof Beck of the Karolinska Institute reported the machine accurately identified drugs in 87 percent of the tests, according to a study published by the Journal of Breath Research.

Why does Arizona Require IIDs?

Arizona in 2008 required using IIDs to enforce the state’s no-tolerance policy, which allows a DUI conviction if someone is merely “slightly impaired.” That can be under Arizona’s 0.08 blood-alcohol concentration, or 0.04 for commercial drivers, and any amount for those younger than 21.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that IIDs in service reduced the number of repeat DUI offenders by 70 percent.

How much does an Ignition Interlock Device cost?

Several factors contribute to the IID prices. Arizona has several companies that install and maintain IIDs and pricing varies. Installation ranges from $70 to $150 although some provide that service for free depending upon the vehicle. Some companies provide a single model and others offer multiple choices that consider the requirements and needs. Monthly rental fees range from $40 to $120.

A list of state-approved IID installation companies is provided by the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division’s website.

In Your Defense

Your defense begins at the traffic stop, so be sure to exercise your constitutional right under the Fifth Amendment to prevent you from convicting yourself. The best thing to do is to politely decline to answer the traffic officer’s questions by invoking your right to remain silent and to have an attorney representing you during questioning.

Every situation is different so the best defense depends on the particular circumstances, such as the “substantial emergency” defense in taking a seriously injured loved one to an emergency room.

It may be possible to challenge the accuracy of the IID. Be sure to keep the IID’s maintenance records to use as evidence in your defense.

Judges have discretion in pronouncing sentences under Arizona’s sentencing guidelines and it may be possible for the defense to successfully argue not to have an IID installed. It may also be possible to reduce the charge in exchange for pleading guilty to a less serious offense.

Free, Confidential Legal Advice

If you are facing the possibility of an IID being installed on your vehicle, contact Phoenix, AZ DUI Defense Attorney Aaron Black for a free legal consultation or call (480)729-1683 for telephonic consultation.

During our call, I’ll ask questions about the circumstances involved and answer your questions. I can assess the strength of the state’s case and advise you of your options.

I defend DUI cases in Arizona’s municipal, county, state, and federal courts and will promptly respond unless I’m in court.