Florida DUI & Ignition Interlock

Florida now has an ignition interlock program that requires ignition interlock devices to be installed on vehicles of certain people convicted of DUIs (driving while under the influence). Here's what it is and how it works.

What is an ignition interlock device?

An ignition interlock device is generally installed on a vehicle's dashboard where the driver must breathe into the device (similar to a breathalyzer test) before starting the vehicle. If the driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is higher than allowed, the vehicle simply will not start.

Once the vehicle has been started, the device will require additional samples at random times. If a sample is not provided, or the person's BAC s higher than allowed, the device will warn the driver and an alarm will go off until the engine is turned off. The latter is said to prevent a passenger from breathing into the device in lieu of the driver.

How does it work in Florida?

The ignition interlock is based upon fuel cell technology in Florida, according to William D. Umansky, a Florida attorney with over 15 years of experience whose practice focuses in the areas of personal injury and criminal defense. He explained how it works in Florida, "[The device] prevents the start of a vehicle with a breath sample above .05. Usually, this device is equipped with a rolling retest capable of random testing while the car is running. The data is collected through web based reporting with access 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The cost to a defendant is typically about $70 for installation, $70 for monthly monitoring and calibration and a $5 per month insurance charge."

Umansky provided us with the following information on how the ignition interlock applies to convictions:

  • 1st conviction. For a first conviction, it's usually only required at the discretion of the court. However, if the person blows a .15 or a minor's in the car, then the judge has to give you an ignition interlock for at least six months.
  • 2nd conviction. If it's a second conviction, you get ignition interlock for at least one year. If you have a minor in the car, you'll get two years ignition interlock.
  • 3rd conviction. If it's a third conviction, then you have to have ignition interlock at least two years.

    According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, if a person is otherwise eligible, a driver license will be issued with a "P" restriction indicating that an ignition interlock device is required. The required time period for interlock officially begins on the day the "P" interlock restriction is issued.

    Additional information

    For additional information on Florida's ignition interlock program, see the Department's website at www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/IID.html. If you have a DUI issue, contact an experiencedDUI lawyer to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential.