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DWI defendants in New York not installing IIDs

According to state data, only one third of defendants required to install ignition interlock devices (IIDs) on their vehicles actually install them. In total, 23,000 drivers have refused to install IIDs since the law was passed two years ago.

New York’s ignition interlock law requires any individual convicted of driving while intoxicated to install an IID on all vehicles they own or operate. The amount of time that the IID must remain installed depends on the severity of the crime. Ignition interlock devices prevent the engine from starting if a driver has any amount of alcohol on his or her breath. Some IIDs also have monitoring programs, including cameras.

According to the defendants, the cost of an IID is simply too prohibitive. People convicted of drunk driving must pay for the device installation and upkeep, which can run into the hundreds of dollars. Defendants who cannot pay for the installation may choose to take their cars off the road. “If they truly do not have a vehicle and are not driving, then we don’t have a problem,” the project coordinator for the Erie County STOP DWI program said.

Yet, he and many others are suspicious that more and more defendants are choosing to transfer ownership of their vehicles, tell the court they do not have a car, and then continue to drive that car. Unfortunately, if these drivers get pulled over for speeding or another minor traffic offense, they will face large penalties for not following court orders.

So how can you legally work around the ignition interlock law if you are charged with drunk driving? You could choose to sell your car and stop driving altogether, but that can be challenging. Your best option is to fight your charges with an experienced DUI defense lawyer.

IIDs are frustrating and costly, but at least they will let you drive. If you are convicted of certain DWI crimes, a court may suspend or revoke your license, taking you off the road entirely. You driving privileges matter. Your future matters. Fight your charges.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Report: NY DWI convicts avoid getting engine locks,” Associated Press, Oct. 14, 2012

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