What do I need to do when I have an IID?

North Carolina residents who must use ignition interlock devices should understand how these devices may impact their everyday lives.

As the effort to crack down on alleged drunk driving has increased over the past several decades, drivers around the country have seen many laws and penalties in this area get stronger. North Carolina is no exception to this trend and one of the penalties that many people may experience is the required to install and use an ignition interlock device in order to restore their right to drive.

How IIDs work

Ignition interlock devices are designed to measure a person's breath alcohol content. If a measurement is above a precalibrated level, these devices can then place a lock on a vehicle's ignition preventing it from being started. The objective of requiring IIDs to be used is to prevent people previously convicted of a driving while under the influence offense from repeating the behavior.

As explained by Intoxalock, an IID provider, an ignition interlock device is operated via a handheld unit into which a driver blows to provide a breath sample. This unit is connected to a microchip that takes the measurement and then communicates to and controls the ignition.

Driving a vehicle with an IID

When an IID is installed into a vehicle, a driver is not allowed to start that vehicle unless they pass a breath test first. However, drivers should know that they may also be required to take subsequent tests while they are actively driving. The IID unit will signal when such a test is required and the driver must complete the test within a certain period of time.

People who routinely eat or drink while driving may have to change their habits and anything other than water should be avoided within 10 or 15 minutes of taking a test. This is because other substances may contribute to inaccurate results.

North Carolina's IID requirement

According to the North Carolina General Assembly, a driver who has a prior DWI conviction within seven years on record might be required to use an IID. So too might a driver with a first DWI conviction if their blood alcohol content level was over 0.14 percent at the time of their arrest. The length of time an IID must be used can vary from one year to seven years depending upon the amount of time a person's license was originally set to be revoked.

Protecting one's rights

People who are facing the prospect of a DWI conviction in North Carolina should always reach out to an attorney. This may help them by providing them the chance to learn about all of the ramifications of a DWI arrest or conviction as well as the opportunities to maintain their rights such as the right to drive.