A New Bill in Florida Requires an Ignition Interlock for First Time DUI Offenders

dui ignition interlockIn a recent attempt to crack down on driving under the influence (DUI), a new bill (HB949) has just passed the Transportation and Infrastructure committee in the Florida House of Representatives. If passed, this bill will require all first-time offenders to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. While it still needs to pass through two more committees before making it to the House floor, it is important to know what this bill will mean for you.

Court Requirements

While all 50 states have some sort of ignition interlock requirement for repeat offenders, 28 other states currently have laws similar to HB949.  At this time, under Florida law, first time DUI offenders are only required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is higher than .15{7dff60334df83244b79b5471a8769907d27e202ac622cbe5ff51878e61595e62}, if there was a minor in the vehicle, or if it has been court-ordered. Repeat offenders are required to install the device, no matter their BAC. This new bill will make it mandatory for all first-time offenders to install the ignition interlock device for a least six months after their conviction.  Legislators hope that this bill will prevent first time offenders from repeating.

What are Ignition Interlock Devices?

An ignition interlock device is essentially a breathalyzer plugged into a vehicle. The driver must breathe into the device in order to start the vehicle. The device will then beep five minutes later, as a reminder to breathe into it again. The driver must retest every half hour. The data will be recorded and sent to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, and will then be accessible online. The device itself costs $70 to install, requires monthly calibration at a specific facility, which will cost $67, along with a $100 safety deposit. If the offender cannot afford it, the court can order part of the offender’s fine to cover the expenses.

If you, or a loved one, is facing a DUI charge, our lawyers at McIntyre Thanasides can help you. Experienced in Florida DUI law, our criminal defense attorneys will fight for your case, whether you are a first-time or a repeat offender. Have you been pulled over and faced with the decision to blow or not to blow into a breathalyzer? Our lawyers can advise you on how to proceed. Contact us today for a consultation at (844)511-4800.