Can you rent a car with an ignition interlock device?

July 18, 2019

Do you have to rent a car in the midst of your ignition interlock program? Do you have a vacation or work plans that would necessitate a short-term rental? If so, you may be out of luck. Although state’s regulations differ, one thing’s for sure: you won’t be able to rent a car with an interlock device already installed. In addition, you’d likely have to jump through some serious hoops to get a rental company to agree to a car breathalyzer installation. 

Below, we’ll breakdown the whys and wherefores regarding interlock devices and rental cars. 

Can You Rent a Car with an Ignition Interlock Device?

These days, depending on the state you’re in and the severity of your offense, a DUI can result in several penalties, including: 

  • The suspension of your license.
  • Fines and fees
  • Jail time
  • Insurance increases
  • Mandatory interlock device installation
  • Alcohol and substance abuse classes

Naturally, making the mistake of driving while under the influence is a huge violation of the law and will have an immense impact on your life that can cause you great financial hardship. If a judge orders that you install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, you’ll be unable to rent a vehicle until the restriction is lifted. 

If your license is suspended there are several steps required to even have the license reinstated on a temporary basis. 

In Vermont, for example, you must take the following actions: 

  • Submit an SR22/proof of insurance
  • Retake and pass the driving skills and knowledge tests
  • Satisfy any court requirements
  • Pay reinstatement fee(s)
  • Obtain medical clearance
  • Complete alcohol courses as ordered by the courts

Even if you manage to obtain SR-22 insurance, rental car companies will almost always run a driving history check prior to letting you rent a vehicle. Of these rental car companies, the vast majority won’t allow a person to rent a car if they have received DUI charges in the past 48 months; and that’s for those DUI offenders who haven’t been ordered to drive with an interlock device installed in their car. 

Renting a Car

Car rental companies are private entities that have the right to refuse service to anyone and a recent DUI is quite literally the largest red flag a person can have. As a result, few rental companies would run the risk of letting you get behind the wheel of their vehicle. Even should you find a rental company that doesn’t automatically run a driving record, if you lie to them and then get in an accident or hurt the car, you could not only be sued for damages and liability, but you could also go to jail or have your mandatory interlock sentence extended. 

Technically, if you could find a rental car company that granted you permission to not only rent a car but also have an interlock device installed, then that would be legal. You’d be required to pay for:

That said, the odds of this being allowed by a rental company are slim to none. Also, the cost to rent a car for long enough to even justify the installation would be exorbitant. At that point, you might as well just buy a clunker for cheap and install the interlock device in that vehicle.

Waiving the Ignition Interlock Device Requirement

If you don’t drive often or own a car but are still court-ordered to install an IID, it’s possible to have the IID mandate waived. To do this, you must file a declaration of non-ownership form. This simple, one-page, document must be submitted to your state DMV after your sentencing. If you don’t have any vehicles you must check three boxes that state the following:

  • You don’t at present own any vehicles
  • You don’t at present operate and/or have access to any vehicles
  • You don’t at present operate and/or have access to your employer’s vehicles

This must be filed within 30 days of a court-ordered ignition interlock device installation. If you go past the deadline, the court will await proof that you have fulfilled your obligations. So, even if you don’t own or have access to a car, you’ll still be penalized.

Low Cost Interlock

For those that are court-ordered to install an interlock device in their vehicle, renting a car will be off the table for at least four years. So, if you ever want to earn back that privilege you must first uphold the conditions of your sentencing. That’s where Low Cost Interlock comes in. We service more than 25 states, guarantee upfront pricing, and have a device that’s discreet and accurate. 

Speak with one of our experts today so that you can get back on the road! 

Sources:

Los Angeles DUI Attorney. What if I was ordered to install an interlock device but I don’t have a car? https://www.losangelesduiattorney.com/dui-faq/what-if-i-was-ordered-to-install-an-interlock-device-but-i-dont-have-a-car/

Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles. Driver’s License Suspension. https://dmv.vermont.gov/licenses/suspensions

California Superior Court. Declaration of Ownership and/or Operation of Vehicles. https://1dhzvm3ch9ve1ts2ulmy2d1b-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/california-declaration-of-ownership-form.pdf

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