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Ignition Interlock Device for First Offense OUI cases

There is a new bill on the governor's desk regarding the ignition interlock device. Right now, if a driver is charged with operating while under the influence of alcohol for the first time, he or she is not required to put in an ignition interlock device in their car. Under the new legislation, a person would be required to put an ignition interlock device into their car in certain circumstances.

An ignition interlock device is approximately the size of a large cell phone. It is electronically connected to a vehicle's ignition. The hand held device requires the driver to pass a breath test prior to starting the car. If the device detects a BAC or blood alcohol level of .02 or above the car will not start. The device may also require a driver to retake the test during the operation of the car depending on how long the trip takes.

Currently, the ignition interlock device is required for a driver that have two or more OUI's on their record. If a driver applies for a hardship license on a OUI second offense, the driver would be required to use the ignition interlock device for the duration of the hardship. The ignition interlock device would then stay on the car for 2 years after the driver's license is reinstated.

Should a driver tamper with the device or drive a car without an ignition, the driver faces a mandatory jail sentence of not less than 180 days or not more than 2.5 years in jail. If the case is indicted into superior court, the driver must serve a minimum of 2.5 years or not more than 5 years. There is also a fine of not less than $1,000 or not more than $15,000.

The cost of installing the device is around $200. There is also an $85 monthly maintenance fee. Every 30 days the driver must visit the vendor to upload the data and to ensure that the device has not been tampered with and working properly.

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