Even in states with a reputation for lenient drunk driving laws, you may face consequences for a DUI conviction that could drastically alter the course of your life. The reason why DUI penalties can be so severe is to deter people from getting behind the wheel after they have been drinking. This protects you and others on the road from the potentially catastrophic consequences of a drunk driving accident.
One of the more successful innovations in drunk driving prevention is the ignition interlock system. If your sentencing following a recent DUI conviction includes the installation of an ignition interlock, you would be wise to have a thorough understanding of how the device works and the possible penalties for violations.
How it works
Ignition interlock systems require you to blow into a device that tests whether you have alcohol in your system. If you pass the test, your vehicle will start, and you can drive away normally. If you do not pass the test, the device will lock the ignition of your vehicle. For some systems, this lockout occurs with even a trace of alcohol, but others require you to test at the legal limit before locking your ignition.
The system may allow you to retest after a certain amount of time has passed, and if it registers no alcohol, you may start your vehicle. Additionally, once you are on the road, the machine will prompt you to pull over and supply another breath sample to ensure you are not drinking while you drive. Be aware that booze is not the only thing that contains alcohol. You may test positive after using mouthwash or consuming foods cooked in alcohol, among other things.
Failing the test
If your subsequent efforts to start your car fail, the system will lock your ignition, and you may have to call a tow truck or pay to have a service technician to reset your interlock system. More importantly, the system reports every test you take, whether you pass or fail, to those who are monitoring your case. This may include your parole officer, the court or the Illinois Driver Services Department.
Reports of test failures may lead to additional penalties, which may include fines, prison or additional license restrictions. Facing these harsh consequences is something you do not have to do without legal support. Seeking advocacy from a skilled attorney is a wise move for protecting your future.