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Do you know what an ignition interlock device actually does?

Perhaps you left that holiday party a bit too soon after having a couple of drinks. Even though you felt as though you were okay to drive, a police officer pulled you over. After putting you through the paces, so to speak, the officer determined that there was enough evidence to accuse you of DUI. As a result, you may face the suspension of your driver's license.

It may be possible to keep your license, but a judge may require you to use an ignition interlock device. You have probably heard about these devices but aren't sure what they actually do.

First, you may want to know what it is

In the simplest terms, an IID is a breath-testing machine for your vehicle. Since the machines gained popularity and credibility here in Texas and elsewhere, the court may allow an individual to keep his or her driver's license in exchange for using the device in one's vehicles for a specified amount of time. If a court allows you to use an IID, then you bear all of the costs associated with it, such as installation, maintenance and any other monthly costs.

Second, you may want to know how it works

A state-approved technician wires the device to the ignition of your car. When you get in to drive, you must provide a breath sample before the engine will start. If you drank any alcohol prior to getting into the vehicle, it won't start. In order for the engine to continue running, the machine will randomly require you to provide a breath sample. The machine has a built-in "grace period" for these random tests in case you need to pull over in order to comply with the retest.

The retests prevent you from having someone sober get your vehicle to start if you were drinking. If a retest registers alcohol, the machine will signal you to pull over and turn off the vehicle. The IID will not simply kill your engine. If you think that you can just keep driving anyway, don't be a fool. All of the information from the device goes back to law enforcement. Some states require the device to set off your lights or horn until you comply.

If you face a driver's license suspension due to a DUI arrest or conviction, you may be able to use an IID in order to continue driving. In order to improve your chances of successfully obtaining the right to use one of these devices instead of losing your license, you may want to take advantage of the legal resources in your area.

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