The requirements for an ignition interlock device in North Carolina

Griffin Law, PLLC
Jan 16, 2024

In North Carolina, there are five levels of punishment for drivers convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI). With level five being the lowest and level one the highest, each tier features increasingly severe fines and imprisonment terms.

But at which level does the court require an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your vehicle? Understanding the specifics of this requirement is crucial for compliance and regaining your driving privileges.

What’s an IID?

Simply put, an IID is a breathalyzer for your vehicle. The device requires the driver to blow into it before the vehicle’s engine can start. If the device detects a blood alcohol concentration level above a preset limit (usually 0.02% BAC), the device locks the vehicle from starting.

When is an IID required?

A court can impose an IID requirement on a driver convicted of DWI if they meet any of the following conditions:

  • High BAC: The driver had an alcohol concentration of .15% or more during the offense
  • Previous convictions: The driver has earlier convictions for impaired driving within the last seven years, and said conviction led to the revocation of the driver’s license
  • Aggravated level one: If a driver faces aggravated level one punishment for their DWI, one of the mandatory requirements is IID installation

Additionally, those convicted of habitual impaired driving and having their licenses revoked as a result must also automatically have an IID installed as part of the reinstatement process.

However, a court still has the discretion to require an IID installation no matter the punishment level. Aggravating factors, such as refusing to partake in a chemical test, can also lead to an IID requirement.

How long must drivers use an IID?

When a driver faces a DWI conviction or refuses to take a chemical test, officials will suspend their license. Drivers can apply for limited restoration of their driving privileges, but a court will require an IID as part of the process. Depending on the length of the revocation period, a court can order the driver to maintain an IID for the following periods:

  • License revocation for one year: IID maintenance for one year from the date of restoration
  • License revocation for four years: IID maintenance for three years from the date of restoration
  • Permanent revocation: IID maintenance for seven years from the date of restoration

The requirement of an IID is one of the many consequences of a DWI conviction in North Carolina. It’s designed to allow offenders to maintain driving privileges while ensuring the safety of all road users. Consider consulting with a legal professional for detailed information and advice on your specific case.

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