Reasons to Fight an Ignition Interlock in NC

Written by Thom Goolsby

DUI, DWI, Traffic

When a simple mistake or error in judgment leads to DWI charge in North Carolina, there are specific penalties you expect. At a minimum, you could be looking at a fine up to $200 and 24 hours incarceration. However, your punishment could be even harsher if you had prior DWI convictions or aggravating factors apply. Plus, there is one critical consequence you may not realize. Under some circumstances, the Court may require you to install a device called an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) that prevents your car from starting if you’ve been drinking. The statutes regarding an IID in NC are designed for public safety, but they can also have a significant impact on many aspects of your life.

As such, it is usually in your best interest to fight DWI charges using all available defense strategies. At Goolsby Law Firm, we have in-depth knowledge and extensive experience representing clients in DWI cases. We are prepared to defend your rights if an IID may be required. We know how to best protect your ability to drive after a DWI charge.

Please contact our office in Wilmington today and set up a free consultation with a North Carolina DWI/DUI attorney.

Overview of Ignition Interlock Devices

Like many other US states, North Carolina has a law requiring a judge to order an ignition interlock device (IID) for some individuals convicted on DWI charges. The IID functions by disabling your vehicle’s engine if it detects alcohol when you blow into the mouthpiece. In most cases involving a second or subsequent DWI offense, you will need to install an IID once your driver’s license suspension period is over. Still, even a first DWI conviction in North Carolina can lead to the IID requirement if your blood alcohol content (BAC) was.15% or higher.

An IID may also be required if you opt for a limited driving privilege after being convicted of DWI. Under this arrangement, after a 45 days from your DWI conviction, you would be allowed to legally drive for limited purposes. During this time period your license would otherwise be suspended. The caveat for taking advantage of this limited driving privilege is the IID requirement.

Reasons to Fight an Ignition Interlock in North Carolina

You may not realize the full impact of the IID until you understand the different ways it will affect your daily routine and life. The following implications are just a few of the reasons to fight the requirement.

The Cost: All expenses related to the IID are your responsibility. There are a few different companies who contract with the state to provide IID services, each of whom charge various fees for:

  • Purchase or rental of the unit;
  • Installation;
  • Monthly service fees;
  • Repair and maintenance; and,
  • Other charges.

Depending on how long the court orders you to have the IID, these costs could easily range into the hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Limitations on Your Freedoms: The IID is extremely inconvenient and invades on your private life. If you are out and have just one drink, you might be stranded – along with anyone else who relied on you for transportation. The inaccuracy of the IID is an even bigger concern. These devices are notorious for issuing a positive reading for trace amounts of alcohol or related substances, though you may not have consumed any alcoholic beverage.

Implications for Your Job: You must have the device installed on a designated vehicle that you will be driving for the duration of the Court’s order for an IID. If you drive for work, you will not be allowed to install the IID on a vehicle not owned by you. As such, you may not be able to perform job-related tasks, putting you at risk of being laid-off or terminated.

Your IID Defense Options

The key to fighting an IID in North Carolina is retaining an experienced DWI/DUI attorney to represent you. Experienced lawyers can pinpoint weaknesses in the allegations against you and develop strategies to defend your interests. If the prosecutor cannot prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a DWI case, you may be acquitted or have the charges dismissed. One option is to contest the results of a chemical test that revealed you had a BAC .15% or greater. For a first-time DWI, you may avoid the IID requirement if you disprove excessive alcohol levels as an aggravating factor.

Speak with a DWI Lawyer in Wilmington, NC

These are just a few of the reasons you must fight DWI charges and avoid the requirement of an ignition interlock in NC. You increase the chances of obtaining a favorable result, like a complete DWI dismissal or a critical reduction in the charges and penalties (including the requirement for an IID) when you have experienced legal counsel. So, please contact Goolsby Law Firm to learn more about how we can help.

Schedule a no-cost case evaluation by calling (910) 763–3339 or contact us online. We’re happy to explain your defense options after we have a chance to review your case.

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    212 Walnut St. Suite 100
    Wilmington, North Carolina 28401

    Like any quality criminal defense attorney, Thom Goolsby may be in court when you first call, but leave a voice mail or send a text. We’ll get with you as soon as possible, so we can go over what happened, evaluate the case, and explain what comes next.