Common questions about ignition interlock devices in Florida

In Florida, drivers convicted of a DUI may be required to use an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for a certain period of time.

An ignition interlock device is a small application, about the size of a cellphone, which is wired into the ignition system of a vehicle, states the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization. After driver is convicted of a DUI in Florida, they must blow into this device every time they want to start their car. If there is a measurable amount of alcohol in their system, their vehicle will not start.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the ignition interlock program is available to drivers who were convicted of a DUI after July 1, 2002 when they become eligible to reinstate their restricted of permanent driver's license. Upon eligibility, drivers will be given a license with a "P" on it that indicates they are required to use an ignition interlock device.

How long does it have to be used for?

How long drivers have to use an ignition interlock device in their vehicle depends on the circumstances surrounding their drunk driving arrest. The FDHSMV states that:

  • First-time offenders are required to use the device for six months if they were driving with a minor at the time of the arrest or had a blood alcohol concentration level greater than 0.15.
  • Second-time offenders must use one of these systems for one year. However, if their BAC level was at or above 0.15 or there was a minor with them in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, they will be required to use it for two years.
  • Third-time offenders are required to use an ignition interlock device for a minimum of two years.

The time period drivers are required to use an ignition interlock device in their vehicle starts on the day their license with the "P" marking on it is issued.

What if the driver operates a vehicle that belongs to their employer?

Drivers who operate their employer's vehicle on a regular basis must receive written permission from their employer that they can drive the car for job-related purposes without an ignition interlock device. Employees must keep this letter of permission with them in the car in case they are ever pulled over for a traffic violation.

What is the blood alcohol content level threshold for a lockout?

Drivers will not be able to start their vehicle if the ignition interlock device detects that their BAC level is above 0.025. However, a judge may order this level to be lowered through a court order.

In addition to these stipulations, there are many other regulations associated with ignition interlock devices in Florida. Drivers who are facing DUI charges should consult with an attorney who can provide them with more information about these systems.

Keywords: DUI, arrest, charges, ignition interlock