An ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer designed for measuring the amount of alcohol in a driver’s blood by obtaining breath. The device will prevent the engine from starting if your BAC is greater than 0.05%.

How Does an Ignition Interlock Device Work?

An interlock device is connected directly to the engine’s ignition system located near the driver’s seat.
The small device monitors Breath Alcohol Concentration readings.

It interrupts the signal coming from the vehicle’s ignition to the starter until the driver provides a valid breath sample that has met alcohol guidelines in New Jersey. The driver can start the vehicle as normal if their BAC falls below 0.05%.

Purpose of a Rolling Retest

The ignition interlock device will randomly ask for another breath sample after you have started your engine; this is called a rolling retest. It is designed to prevent the driver from drinking alcohol after they have started their vehicle.

A rolling test also prevents you from asking someone else to provide a breath sample on your behalf to start the car when you are drunk.

What Will Happen If Someone Fails The Rolling Retest?

If you do not pass the random test, the IID will record a violation. The IID vendor will see the violation. The device will also advise you of the violation. The vendor will download all violation data at the end of your installation period.

Who Needs an Ignition Interlock Device?

If you were convicted of a DWI in NJ, then you will be ordered to install an IID in your vehicle. You’ll also have to get the device installed on your car if you were convicted of refusal to take a Breathalyzer test.

Can I Drive a Rental Vehicle Instead of Getting an Ignition Interlock Device?

You cannot rent a car to avoid using an IID because no rental company will allow you to drive their car with an ignition interlock license. You are also not allowed to drive any vehicle without an IID, even if it is a company car.

It is a 2-part obligation:

  1. You must install one on your car
  2. You cannot drive any vehicle that does not have an IID.

How Long Must Someone Use an Ignition Interlock Device?

If you are a first-time offender, you’ll have to drive with an IID for 3 to 15 months, depending on your breath alcohol content. Much steeper IID penalties apply if you are a subsequent offender.

How Often Must I Service an IID?

After an ignition interlock installation, you’ll need to report to the installation center every month to have data downloaded and the interlock device calibrated. You are responsible for making these monitoring appointments with your vendor.

The vendor charges you for each calibration. Failure to comply with the calibration requirement will lead to your IID entering a permanent lock-out. In turn, this will result in additional costs to have the vehicle towed to the vendor as well as non-compliance with the program.

What Kind of Data Does an IID Record?

In addition to analyzing your breath sample and preventing your engine from starting, an IID records and stores data. The important information that an ignition interlock device reports include:

  • Failure to bring your vehicle in for periodic recalibration
  • Attempts to tamper or remove the device
  • Missed rolling retests
  • Date and time of random tests and startup
  • Results of rolling retest and startup test
  • Your blood alcohol concentration levels for each test

What Are the Consequences of Ignition Interlock Device Violations?

Failing breath alcohol ignition interlock tests is a violation of the laws that cover the use of IIDs. This also applies if you attempt to remove or tamper with the device, refuse to take random retests, or fail to return for a calibration to the service center. If you violate ignition interlock device rules and regulations, then you will likely face the following:

  • Pay heavy fines
  • Have your restricted driver’s license revoked
  • See your IID installation period extended
  • Have your driver’s license suspended for an extended period

Can I Purchase a Vehicle After Having an IID Installed on My Other Car?

Yes. You can buy an additional vehicle after an IID has been installed on your original car. You must continue to drive only vehicles with IID devices. This may necessitate installation of an IID on the new car.

What Is the Cost of an IID in New Jersey?

The average cost of an ignition interlock device in New Jersey is $100 per month. The exact amount will depend on the duration you’ll use the device and the vendor you choose.

How Can I Get My Driving Privileges Restored After a DUI in NJ?

After the term of the license suspension period is up, you need to go to NJMVS and apply for your driver’s license to be reinstated. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay a $200 restoration fee. Your license will remain suspended until you complete the application, pay the required fee, and get another license from the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission.

Criminal defense attorneys can help you navigate a drunk driving offense in New Jersey. With over 30 years’ experience, Christopher L. Baxter should be your first, and only, call when arrested for a DUI.