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Understanding North Carolina’s ignition interlock requirements

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2022 | DUI Defense |

If a North Carolina resident is convicted of DUI/DWI for the second or subsequent time or even for the first time if they’re found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15% or higher, they most likely won’t be able to drive legally for a time without an ignition interlock device (IID). They’ll have a restricted driver’s license that indicates they must be driving a vehicle with an IID. The length of time this device is required can vary, but it can potentially last for years.

An IID is connected to the vehicle’s ignition system. It requires a person to breathe into it and prevents the vehicle from starting if their BAC registers at .02% or above. The device also requires drivers to blow into it when prompted as they’re driving to ensure that they didn’t begin drinking after they started the car.

A person who requires an IID to drive must pay for the device(s), which have to be attached to all vehicles they drive. The cars with the devices have to be brought in to designated servicers and calibrated regularly.

An IID requires care of your vehicle and the device

For your IID to function, the car battery needs to work properly. Therefore, it’s wise to get your battery checked before having it installed and not to let it run down.

Cold temperatures can also cause an IID to malfunction. While North Carolina doesn’t have the sub-zero temperatures other areas suffer during the winter, they can drop substantially at night. Therefore, it’s wise to keep your car in a garage if you can.

An IID is just one potential consequence of a DUI conviction. While it may be embarrassing, costly and inconvenient, it’s certainly better than driving without a valid license and risking further charges. 

However, don’t assume that a conviction is unavoidable if you’re arrested for drunk driving. You may be able to challenge some of the evidence and/or the way it was obtained – and possibly the traffic stop itself. That’s why it’s worthwhile not to deal with a DUI/DWI without experienced legal guidance.