After a DUI conviction, one of the most invasive types of punishment that a court has the ability to hand down is the requirement that an ignition interlock device be installed on the vehicle driven by the person convicted. In its most basic description, the device contains a breathalyzer which must be used whenever the driver tries to start the vehicle. If the breathalyzer detects that the blood alcohol concentration of the operator’s breath exceeds .02 alcohol concentration, the ignition will not activate. Not only will the vehicle not start, but failure to do the test or failing the test, automatically notifies law enforcement of the violation. The Kentucky Code addresses these requirements.
Not only is the installation of this device invasive, but the driver must also pay the cost of having the unit installed and maintained, including regular calibration. The state’s reasoning is that the driver is paying for the privilege of being able to operate the vehicle after having violated the law.
Right now in Kentucky, a judge who convicts a defendant of DUI has the right to make that person install and use the device, but the judge is not required to do so.
One Kentucky senator would like to make that penalty mandatory, hoping that doing so will reduce the number of accidents involving drunk drivers. In 2014, about 120 deaths in Kentucky were attributed to drunk driving.
Considering the inconvenience and invasiveness of an ignition interlock device, the best course of action is to not be convicted of DUI in the first place. Multiple factors can cause a DUI arrest that may be considered invalid, from technical issues with a breathalyzer to human error by police operating the equipment or making subjective judgments about speech, balance and other testing used to determine sobriety.
Before being faced with these issues, a consultation with an attorney experienced in DUI issues in Kentucky may help prevent the bad from becoming worse.
Source: WHAS11, “Lou. Senator wants new law to reduce drunk driving accidents,” Alex Schuman, Dec. 31, 2014