The Washington State Legislature drafted an Ignition Interlock Driver License (“IIL”) law that took effect January 1, 2009, resulting in material changes to DUI law that had existed until that time. The law provides that a person convicted of driving under the influence can, under some circumstances, continue to drive while his or her license is suspended or revoked.

Specifically, a person convicted of DUI or being in physical control of a vehicle while having a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher must maintain an ignition interlock device in his or her vehicle throughout the suspension or revocation period to qualify for license reinstatement. For a driver convicted of a first offense, the device must be maintained for one year. A conviction for a second offense results in a five-year requirement.

There are eligibility exceptions. For example, a driver who has been convicted of vehicular assault or vehicular homicide within the past seven years is not eligible for an IIL. Other exceptions also apply.

An ignition interlock device requires that a motorist blow into it as a precondition for driving. A vehicle will not start if the device detects alcohol on a person’s breath. The device might also require additional retesting while the vehicle is in motion.

There are fees and costs for installing, maintaining and removing the device, and the driver is responsible for all of them. Additionally, a driver must maintain the device on every vehicle that he or she drives.

DUI law in Washington is changing and complex, and there are frequently multiple and often technical considerations involved in a DUI stop and/or conviction. An experienced DUI attorney can answer questions relating to an interlock device or other matter.

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