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Is an Ignition Interlock Device Mandatory in a Texas DWI?

If you have been charged with or convicted of driving while intoxicated in Texas, you might have to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your vehicle. The device prevents your car from starting if alcohol is detected on your breath. Installation might be a requirement if certain factors were present in your case. For example, the court might require that you get an IID as a condition of bond for a subsequent DWI violation. IID installation can also be an option if you want unrestricted driving privileges after your driver’s license has been suspended. An IID can be pricey, and you are required to foot the bill for it.

At Deandra Grant Law, our Dallas team fights aggressively and strategically to pursue favorable outcomes in our clients’ cases. Schedule a consultation with us by calling (214) 225-7117 or submitting an online contact form today.

What Is an IID?

An IID is a small device attached to a vehicle’s ignition system. If you have one installed, you must blow into it before starting your car. The machine will analyze your breath sample to determine whether any alcohol is in your system. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at a certain level, your car won’t start.

If your BAC is below a certain level, your vehicle will start. The device will alert you to provide additional samples during your drive for analysis. It will log any detection of alcohol.

An IID serves to prevent drunk driving, as its design keeps intoxicated individuals from operating motor vehicles.

When Is an IID Required?

An IID is not always required in a Texas DWI. A judge shall only order the installation of one if certain criteria are met.

One circumstance where an IID is required is as a condition of bond under the following situations:

  • It is your second or subsequent DWI violation,
  • You are alleged to have driven with a child passenger under 15 years of age,
  • You allegedly caused an accident resulting in serious bodily injury to another person (intoxication assault), or
  • You allegedly caused an accident resulting in the death of another person (intoxication manslaughter).

If an IID is ordered as a condition of bond, you must get the device installed on your vehicle within 30 days of being released. The IID must remain on your car until your case concludes. You cannot drive a vehicle without an IID. If you do, the judge could issue a warrant for your arrest.

The other circumstance you may need to install an IID is as a condition of probation under the following situations:

  • You are a first-time offender and had a BAC of 0.15 or more,
  • You are a second or subsequent offender, or
  • You were under 21 years of age at the time of the offense.

Generally, you must have the IID on your vehicle for at least half of the probationary period. However, the installation period may be longer if the court requires it.

Do I Need an IID for an Occupational License?

An occupational license allows you to drive to specific locations and at certain times while your driver’s license has been suspended for DWI.

With an occupational license, you can operate a vehicle for:

  • Work,
  • Essential household errands, and/or
  • School.

You can get an occupational license without any restrictions if you have an IID installed on your vehicle. This license is referred to as an Ignition Interlock License (IIL).

Who Pays for the IID?

If the court orders you to install an IID on your vehicle, you are required to pay for its installation and maintenance. The exact cost of the device varies depending on the features it needs to have and how long it must be installed.

After all things factored in, the price of an IID can be steep. If the court finds that the expense is beyond your financial means, it may set a reasonable payment schedule that should not exceed the length of time the device must be on your vehicle.

Get Legal Help with Your Case

An IID only needs to be installed when certain criteria are met. Still, if your case meets the requirements, having to get and pay for the device and continually having to blow in it before going anywhere can be an additional worry and headache. To seek to avoid this and other sanctions, fight your charge with the help of a criminal defense lawyer.

Our Dallas team at Deandra Grant Law is here to listen to your side of the story and discuss defense options. Speak with us by contacting our firm at (214) 225-7117 today.