Drivers on DUI probation are regularly court mandated to install an ignition interlock device in their car. If you find yourself in this murky situation, your probation officer may reach out to LCI to do one of two things:
- Provide them with a monthly datalog report from the ignition interlock device.
- Notify them only in the case of device violations.
Naturally, much of this depends on your specific case and probation officer. So, although the device itself will not automatically report to your PO, violations found in the logs will eventually be sent to your supervisor. Below, we will discuss how reporting works and steps you can take to avoid a device violation.
Does Your Interlock Device Report to Your Probation Officer?
The length of your mandatory interlock timeline and your specific probation requirements (as to data log reporting) depends on a variety of factors, including:
- The state you live in – Some states have mandatory interlock sentencing for any first time DUI. Others require a specific BAC (typically .15+ BAC). According to the state of New York, “An Offender convicted of D.W.I. as a Misdemeanor can be sentenced to a period of Probation supervision for three years and for an Offender convicted of D.W.I. as a Felony can be sentenced to a period of five years. The term of Probation is mandatory, but not all convictions result in a Probation sentence.”
- A first time or repeat offense – Multiple DUIs imply that you did not learn your lesson the first time. Repeat offenses often result in longer sentencing and stiffer penalties.
- Refused a breathalyzer or blood test – Some states have automatic license suspension and interlock sentencing periods for drivers who refuse to comply by taking a breath or blood test.
- Your BAC – Your specific blood alcohol content will impact the severity of your punishment. While driving with any alcohol is ill-advised, a motorist operating at .08 BAC is in far more control than a motorist at .15 BAC.
- Whether anyone was injured – If a passenger or innocent person was injured in the process, you will face far stiffer repercussions.
If the terms of your probation include drinking no alcohol, an interlock violation caused by alcohol positive readings can be used as evidence that you have violated the terms of your probation. In addition, if you attempt to drive at above a .08 BAC and wind up locked out by the device, you could automatically face harsher sentencing.
LCI’s ignition interlock devices are finely tuned machines that can measure seemingly imperceptible levels of blood alcohol in your lungs. As a result, they are prone to error if they are not routinely re-calibrated, seeing as even a small miscalculation can dramatically throw off the measurements. Although it depends upon the state you reside in, most require that the device be brought in for calibration at least once every 60 days.
The calibration appointment serves three essential purposes:
- Attune the device to ensure its continued accuracy.
- Read the device’s data logs and check for warnings, failures, or violations.
- Check the vehicle and the device to confirm that there has not been any obfuscation.
If the LCI expert sees there are indeed warnings, failures, or violations, those will be noted. You may have the option to either contest or explain the reason underlying those failures, but it is much better for you if you contact LCI the moment after such an event occurs. After this, LCI is legally required to notify the DMV and your probation officer of said device failures.
Common Interlock Device Violations
If you do not wish for your probation officer to receive reports of your interlock violations, then you should take precaution or you could wind up in worse legal trouble than you are already in. Do everything in your power to avoid the common device violations, including:
- Failing the initial breath test – If the interlock measures a sample that is greater than .03 BAC, you will be given a warning and allowed to take the test again in a few minutes. Multiple failures or a breath sample that is higher than the legal limit will result in violations that could lead to a vehicle service lockout.
- Failing the rolling re-test – You will be asked to retake the breath test approximately 10 minutes after the initial assessment. Failure to pass the test or failure to take the test within the 5 minute window will result in a violation.
- Tampering with the device – Messing with the device in any way is looked at as a crime by the law and can result in serious penalties. Examples of tampering include:
- Damaging the device, leaving it inoperable or only partially operable.
- Taking the device to be worked on by an uncredited provider.
- Disconnecting the car’s battery while the device is installed.
- Messing with the device’s wiring to circumvent a test.
- Removing the device without express consent.
Further, it is incredibly important that you pay all of your fines and fees related to the device, both to the state and to the interlock provider. In addition to the device’s data logs, your probation officer will be notified of failures to pay as well as multiple missed calibration appointments.
Obey the Law
If your goal is to have the device off your vehicle as soon as possible, then it would benefit you to do everything in your power to avoid receiving a device violation. Take the following steps so that you never need to have an unpleasant chat with your probation officer:
- Avoid drinking any alcohol and then driving
- Do not tamper with the device
- Take your rolling retests
- Attend your calibration appointments
- Pay your fines
If you abide by the law, you will be free of your interlock device and your probation officer in no time at all.
National conference of State Legislatures. State Ignition Interlock Laws. http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/state-ignition-interlock-laws.aspx
Oneida County New York. D.W.I & Ignition Interlock. http://www.ocgov.net/probation/DWI
Low Cost Interlock. Reference and Troubleshooting User Guide. https://www.lowcostinterlock.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/2018-04-04-LCI-Device-Operations8b-PGS.pdf