If you get convicted of a DUI, the judge overseeing your case may require you to install an ignition interlock device, or IID, in your car. This arrangement gives many people the chance to keep some driving privileges after a DUI.

An IID is essentially a breathalyzer attached to your car’s ignition that doesn’t allow the vehicle to start unless you register a blood alcohol content level (BAC) below a certain amount. Even after your car has started, the IID will periodically check your BAC while you operate the vehicle. Ignition interlock devices are designed to be tamper-proof so that only the driver can use them.

Ignition interlock devices can prove to be awkward and inconvenient. An experienced DUI lawyer can help you understand your rights and options if you’re facing DUI penalties in New Jersey or New York.

Is an IID Mandatory in New Jersey or New York?

You may have to get an ignition interlock device installed in your car depending on the circumstances around your offense and whether you have multiple offenses.

In New Jersey, a first-time DUI will require an IID if you own a vehicle for a minimum of 3 months and up to 7 months. You will also be required to install an IID if you refuse to take a chemical test at the time of your offense (9-15 months). 

New York requires everyone convicted of a DWI to install an IID in any vehicle that they own or use for at least 12 months. You’re responsible in both states for paying for the device yourself. Your driver’s license will include an IID designation as long as you’re required to have one.

How Long do You Have to Have an Interlock Device?

If a New Jersey court requires you to install an IID, you must show proof of the installation before you can resume driving. For a first-time conviction, you can expect to have the device for 3 months up to a 15 months.

In New York, you have 10 days to prove that you’ve installed the IID after your sentencing. Most DUI sentences require offenders to keep the device installed for at least 1 year.

Can You Get an Interlock Device Exemption?

New Jersey makes few exceptions to IID requirements. From the point of view of the state, ignition interlock devices are a small price for DUI offenders to pay to keep their driving privileges. 

New York allows for extremely limited exceptions to employees driving a vehicle for their job, as long as your boss knows about the IID requirement and gives you written approval. You should talk to your DUI attorney to determine whether this exemption applies to you.

Can You Drive a Different Car If You Have an IID?

In New Jersey, you cannot drive any vehicle without an IID installed as long as your license requires you to use an IID while driving. There is no legal way to “get around” an IID requirement. In fact, tampering with an ignition interlock device or driving another car without an IID could result in your driver’s license getting suspended altogether.

The only exception to an IID requirement in New York is a limited exemption for employees who must drive work vehicles, so long as their boss knows and has given written approval. Your lawyer can help you navigate this situation without accidentally incurring more penalties.

When Can You Get Your IID Removed?

Unfortunately, getting your IID removed isn’t as simple as it may sound. In New Jersey, you must first get a certificate from an IID vendor that confirms:

  • You kept up with the proper maintenance and monitoring for the device, and
  • Your device did not register a BAC of 0.08% or higher more than once in the last 30 days (unless a re-test was taken within 5 minutes showing a legal BAC).

If the IID vendor doesn’t grant you the certificate, you may have to keep the device for another 1-3 months. If you have to remove the IID before the required time is over – for example, if your car gets totaled, sold, or impounded – you must notify the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission and get the device professionally removed, then install an IID on any new vehicles you own or use.

To get an IID removed in New York, you must get authorization from either the Department of Motor Vehicles, your conditional monitoring authority, or your probation officer.

In New York, you can apply for early IID removal after 6 months if you’ve maintained the device in your car without any new charges, violations, or issues and you’ve complied with all the terms of your sentencing and DWI probation. Your attorney can help you make this appeal.

At the end of your court-ordered term, you will receive a form from your IID vendor stating that you’ve satisfied your legal requirements. You must then submit the form to the DMV to get the “ignition interlock” restriction removed from your driver’s license. Once you’ve submitted this form, you can proceed to get your IID professionally removed from your car.

A DUI attorney who is dedicated to your case can make every step of this process smoother for you. At The Kugel Law Firm, we look out for your best interests at all times. Schedule a no-risk case consultation with our leading DUI/DWI lawyers now. You can reach us at our New York offices at (212) 372-7218 and our New Jersey offices at (973) 854-0098.