Ignition interlock devices: What you should know

If charged with a DUI in Illinois, you are set to face several consequences. In addition to paying hefty fines, the state requires you to have a breath alcohol ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. This installation occurs after you receive a monitoring device driving permit through the Secretary of State’s office. BAIIDs measure your blood alcohol content level and will not allow your car to start if that level reads over a preset limit. 

Illinois is one of 20 states in the nation that requires all DUI offenders to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles, even first-time offenders. This device allows offenders to travel to work, school and run errands while minimizing the risk of committing another offense. 

How ignition interlock devices work 

A breath alcohol ignition interlock device installs directly into your vehicle’s ignition system with a dashboard monitor. In addition to the device itself, Illinois law also requires a dashboard camera. Before the car will start, the BAIID will prompt you to exhale into a tube connected to the machine. If your blood alcohol content level is over the device’s set limit, which is 0.025, the car will not start. It will then have you wait for a certain period before you can attempt another start. 

If the car does start, you can drive normally. However, during the drive, the device will require subsequent breath samples to keep the car going. If you should miss one or if the results read over the preset limit, the car will slowly power down. 

Violations of the BAIID law 

The device stores the following information, which is then downloaded by the Secretary of State’s office every 60 days: 

  • Dates and times of attempted startups 
  • BAC levels during startup attempts and rolling retests 
  • Failed attempts and lockouts  
  • Attempts to violate, uninstall or damage the device 

If the device detects a violation, the Secretary of State’s office will send you a letter describing the violation and asked for more information. Keep in mind that as a DUI offender, you have to pay for the installation, rental and maintenance of the ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.