Frequently Asked Questions About Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices

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If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) , you may soon be required to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device. These devices are designed to prevent individuals who have previously been convicted of a DUI from driving under the influence of alcohol. There are many questions surrounding ignition interlock devices. Read on to learn how to use these devices properly and what you can do to prevent criminal charges.

How Does an Ignition Interlock Device Work?

A breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) functions similarly to a Breathalyzer test. A BAIID estimates the amount of alcohol a person has had to drink by analyzing a sample of his or her breath. This is called a “blow test.” The amount of alcohol in someone’s breath can easily be translated by the device into blood alcohol content. If a person has a blood alcohol content over the legal limit of 0.08 percent, he or she cannot legally drive. For the purposes of a BAIID, the limit of allowable blood alcohol content is much lower. When a BAIID receives a breath sample which contains more than a negligible amount of alcohol, the vehicle’s ignition is disabled. The car will not be able to start for a period of time called a “lock-out period.” The lock-out period may increase in duration after each failed test.

How Often Must a User Submit a Breath Test?

In addition to the initial blow test which allows you to start your vehicle, ignition interlock devices also require the user to submit “rolling re-tests” throughout their drive. A rolling re-test is an added blow test which is required to confirm that the driver has not consumed alcohol since the first test. A person blows into the machine for the retest in the same way he or she did for the initial test. States differ on the amount of time between the initial blow test and any subsequent rolling re-tests, but the waiting time is generally 5-45 minutes.

Can an Ignition Interlock Device Be Wrong?

Many people with ignition interlock devices worry if things like mouthwash, toothpaste, gum, cigarette smoke, or certain foods can create a false positive result on blow tests. While each brand of BAIID is different, most foods and products should not affect the BAC results. Mouthwashes containing alcohol will often trigger a positive result on a blow test, so it is recommended that BAIID users use non-alcoholic mouthwash. If you are worried about how certain foods or products will interact with the BAIID results, one simple solution is to rinse your mouth out with water before each blow test.

Is There a Way to Cheat an Ignition Interlock Device?

The BAIIDs used by Illinois authorities have been specially designed to know the difference between human breath and other air. Tricks like using a balloon to provide the sample will simply not work. Some individuals in the past tried to bypass the BAIID by having someone who did not drink provide the breath sample. In response, the Illinois Secretary of State implemented new rules which require BAIIDs to be equipped with a camera which snaps a photo during each test. Attempting to cheat the system can result in much more severe criminal consequences and is not recommended.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence, a Joliet DUI defense attorney can help you get your life back on track. Call 815-740-4025 today to schedule a free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba.