Although enjoying a few drinks with friends may seem like a harmless activity, it can escalate into a major problem for people who decide to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking. As of March 2014, all people convicted of a DUI in Missouri will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle for a minimum of six months, according to the National Council of State Legislators.

What are ignition interlock devices?

Ignition interlock devices are small breath analyzing monitors that are wired directly into a vehicle's ignition system, according to the Century Council. After the driver blows into a tube that is connected to the breath test machine, their breath sample will be analyzed for alcohol content. If the driver's blood alcohol content is less than a preset amount, which is 0.025 percent in Missouri, the vehicle will start.

The driver is required to submit rolling retests in order to ensure that their BAC remains within acceptable limits. This also helps to ensure that the driver does not use another person's breath sample to start the vehicle. If the motorist fails to participate in the rolling retest or submits a breath sample that is over the preset limit, an alarm will go off until the car is turned off or until a clean sample is provided.

Maintenance and calibration

According to the Missouri Department of Revenue, drivers who are issued an ignition interlock device must report to a state-certified IID installer every month for a maintenance appointment. During this time, the technician will download the information stored in the device and send a monitoring report to the proper officials. This report includes any violations that may have been issued, including failed rolling retests, tampering with the device or failed attempts to start the vehicle.

Violations may lead to a longer IID sentence or loss of driving privileges altogether. People who do not go in for their monthly maintenance appointment will lose the ability to drive for the remainder of the sentence.

Additional penalties

The Missouri Department of Revenue states that drivers who are court-ordered to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles and fail to do so will lose their driving privileges for one year, or five years if a second offense occurs. Some people convicted of a DUI and are ordered by the courts to have a limited driving privilege may be required to have an interlock device, which includes a camera and GPS monitoring as well.

Seek legal counsel

People who face DUI charges may feel overwhelmed at the prospect of being convicted of drinking and driving. It is crucial that you seek the legal counsel of an established defense attorney, who can help you through this difficult time.

Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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