What You Need To Know About IID

What You Need To Know About IID

Hi, I'm Charlie Roadman, Austin criminal defense attorney. And today we're going to talk about the ignition interlock device. I've been a defense attorney for about 20 years. So I've been dealing with these with my clients for 20 years. So here are the basics, here's what I think you need to know. First of all, what is the ignition interlock device? It's the device that the court typically will order you to put in your car under certain circumstances that you have to blow into to start the car and while the car's driving. Now to you, it's punishment. To the judge it's protection for the community. To the prosecutor, it's a way to see if you have a drinking problem, because they're going to look at your records. And to your defense attorney, it's an opportunity to show the court that you can follow the rules. That the arrest was just a one time thing, and that you have enough self control, basically, to not drink alcohol when you're not supposed to.

Now, one of the first questions that I need you to address is, are you allowed to drink alcohol? Now, I don't know who you are, who's watching this video, what state you're in or whatever. But almost certainly if you've been ordered to have an ignition interlock device, you've also been told not to drink alcohol at all. Even if you're not planning on driving, that is almost certainly going to be the rule. Now, if you have a question about that, you should ask your pretrial services officer, your bond person, your defense attorney, somebody to confirm that. But in basically a hundred percent of my cases, if you've been ordered to have an ignition interlock device, you've also been told not to drink any alcohol at all. And you'll see why that's important coming up here.

So there are two sets of rules for ignition interlock device. And the first is the company that you rent it from essentially. So they'll have their own set of rules, but then there's also the judge's rules. Which includes pretrial services, bond conditions, probation, if you're already at that stage. But guess which one is the most important? The judge's rules. So this can be a little confusing. So here's an example. It's possible and I've heard this quite a few times about different ignition interlock companies that they'll tell people that they're going to lock out your car if you get five alcohol violations. Now some people here, "Oh, I can get four alcohol violations then and it's not a problem." Well, no. The judge will not be okay with you having any alcohol violations. So, even though the company's not going to lock you out, doesn't mean it's okay. You've got to go by the judge's rules, which are almost certainly that they're not allowed any alcohol violations.

Another example, the ignition interlock company may tell you that your car will start if the IID detects less than 0.02 BAC. So there's just a residual amount of alcohol, they say the car will start. Well, maybe the car will start, but the judge will not be okay with any amount of alcohol in your system because just having a little residual proves to the judge that you have been drinking. So just because the alcohol company says it'll still start doesn't mean it's okay. So let's be clear the IID will detect any alcohol in your system. First, what it's designed to do is detect alcohol from drinking alcoholic beverages, so wine, beer, anything like that. That's obvious.

Unfortunately, it also detects alcohol from things like mouth wash or kombucha or various other products that you innocently ingest. They don't make you intoxicated. Okay. So it's not really something that the judge cares about. They want you to use mouthwash in the sense that they want you to be clean and healthy. But in this situation, when you have an IID, you can't use any of those things and the company will tell you, "Don't use it because it'll create a false positive." Now, if you have innocently ingested something that gives you a false positive, you have to wash your mouth out with water and then blow again in five minutes. And by that, I mean, wash your mouth out 10 times. I don't know, whatever you have to do.

Gargle, spit it out. Gargle, spit it out and then blow until you get to zeros. That's how you prove to the court that it's not really the alcohol that they're concerned about. That it really was mouthwash. So to give you another example, let's look at this situation. You've got two people here and which one of these is from mouthwash. At 9:47 am, person one blows a 0.041. Person two is the same thing. But person two, about nine minutes later, blows zeros. Now there's pictures of the person blowing, so the pretrial services officer or the probation, or whoever's looking at this, will see it's the same person. Person two, the same and that had to be mouthwash or something like that. Because a regular alcohol won't get out of your system with just washing your mouth out. Person one, they're going to assume because that person didn't blow again. They're going to assume person was drinking real alcohol.

And even though they might not have been, but they missed their opportunity to prove that they weren't drinking because they didn't blow a second time after washing their mouth out. So let's look at something where there's the most common scenario that we get. For people violating on their ignition interlock device. Now this is someone who's not following the rules, because they're not supposed to drink at all. But you've got basically this alcohol ingestion and it goes up and it's peeking around midnight. Well, what if someone wakes up and they need to go to work and so they try to start their car. But as you can see, there's still a little bit of alcohol in their system. And so even if the car starts or something like that, the judge, the prosecutor, the pretrial services officer will all know that you drank alcohol. Which is what they're trying to determine.

So this is the most common scenario. You shouldn't be in the scenario at all, because you're not supposed to drink. But this is how people get caught the most. So if you do not retest, here are the excuses that will not work. It was mouthwash. It was kombucha. I was late for work and got a ride. It was hand sanitizer. I didn't know I was supposed to retest. It was alcohol from the night before. I thought I could get up to five violations. None of those will work. Here are the excuses that will work: nothing. Unless you retest and prove to them that it wasn't really alcohol, they won't believe anything. And any alcohol violation will jeopardize your legal situation. Now it's certainly possible they'll give you a second chance or something like that, but it's also possible that they've had an enough and they're going to put you in jail.

I mean, the whole range of punishments is open for the judge. So my advice to you: follow the rules. Don't drink at all if you're not supposed to drink. Retest if it's a false positive and watch my video about putting the IID in my car. So I made that video a few years ago and it has a bunch of different situations that I run into. And so it'll help you sort of get a sense of what you should do and what you should not do and stuff like that, but it'll help. All right. I hope this helps. Best of luck to you. Give us a call or check out our website for a lot more information about DWI cases.