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DWI in Texas—Ignition Interlock Devices - If you have been charged with DWI in Texas, you are facing many different sentencing conditions. One of those conditions could be the requirement of having an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle. An ignition interlock device is similar to a breathalyzer, however it is linked to your car engine. Each time you attempt to start your vehicle, you must blow into the device. If the device detects alcohol on your breath, the car will not start.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ignition interlock devices have been found to be fairly effective in reducing recidivism among DWI offenders. There are currently laws in all 50 states which require the installation of an ignition interlock device, although the states vary as far as when the device is required. Thirty-seven states have either mandatory or highly incentivized ignition interlock device laws for those convicted of DWI, even for first-time offenders in many states.
Texas Ignition Interlock Devices - Under Texas laws, an ignition interlock device can be ordered as a condition of bond for second and subsequent DWI offenders, as well as those charged with Intoxication Assault or Intoxication Manslaughter. Further, first-time DWI offenders with a BAC of .15 or higher, or first-time offenders under the age of 21, are also required to have an ignition interlock device installed as a condition of probation. The states of Colorado, New Mexico and Washington have the strongest ignition interlock laws of all the states.
If the ignition interlock device is ordered as a condition of bond, it will likely be required to remain installed until the case is disposed. If the ignition interlock device is ordered as a condition of probation, the device must remain installed for at least half of the supervision period, although some jurisdictions will require the device to be installed for a lengthier period. A court order is necessary for an offender to be required to have an ignition interlock device required.
The ignition interlock device program is overseen by the Texas Department of Public Safety. This department is responsible for issuing the standards for ignition interlock manufacturers in the state, as well as for maintaining standards for calibration and maintenance of all ignition interlock devices used in the state. Ignition interlock devices are not only a major hassle, they are also expensive. Generally speaking, an ignition interlock device can cost from $70-$100 for installation, $60-$80 per month for monthly calibration costs, a deposit of $100 or more, and sometimes a fee to remove the device as well as monthly insurance charges.
As noted, a first-time DWI offender generally will not have to have an ignition interlock device installed. If you are sentenced to an ignition interlock device you will have to have one installed on every vehicle you drive. If you installed an ignition interlock device in a timely manner, you might be entitled to apply for an occupational license without an essential need. There are certain circumstances under which you might not be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on a vehicle you drive, such as when the vehicle you use is strictly for your job, your employer owns the vehicle, you have no control or authority over your employer, your employer was notified of your driving restrictions, and the proof of that notification stays in the vehicle.
Problems with Texas Ignition Interlock Devices - Having an ignition interlock device on your vehicle can significantly limit you—the instrument is not always accurate, and can even give false readings. This could make your vehicle unusable any time the device malfunctions. Some of the ignition interlock devices require you not only to blow into the device before starting your vehicle, but also to blow at random times as you drive. This is to ensure drivers do not drink after they have started their vehicle. If the device detects alcohol while you are driving, you will be asked to pull over as soon as it is safe to do so.
Getting Help with Your DWI in Texas - If you are charged with DWI in Texas, it is crucial that you obtain highly experienced legal counsel to avoid as many of the very serious consequences associated with a DWI conviction as possible. You could face Harris County jail, Harris County criminal records, and you could be forced to face the Harris County district attorney on your own. Having a knowledgeable Houston DWI attorney in your corner from beginning to end can truly make a difference in the eventual outcome to your DWI in Texas charges. The Sullo & Sullo Houston DWI attorneys understand the ins and outs of DWI law in the state of Texas. We can offer a comprehensive evaluation off your charges, charting out a plan which will work in the best way possible for you. Contact the Sullo & Sullo Houston DWI lawyers to schedule a free consultation regarding your DWI in Texas charges.