In 2008, Minnesota adopted the Ignition Interlock program for DUI/DWI offenders. Currently, the interlock devices are used in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. However, states vary in how the devices are used and which drivers are required to install them. Here in Minnesota, the law states that all first time DUI/DWI offenders with a Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) above 0.16 percent will be given the option of using an ignition interlock device to restore their driving privileges sooner than if they did not have the device installed. For these DUI/DWI offenders, the option of a “limited license” or “work permit” is no longer available. A first time DUI/DWI offender with a BAC of 0.16 to 0.19 will lose their driving privileges for a period of one year. The only option they have to legally operate a motor vehicle would be to operate a vehicle with the ignition interlock installed in it. A second time DUI/DWI offender with a blood alcohol level between 0.16 to 0.19 will be subject to the ignition interlock for a period of two years. Other factors that may affect the amount of time required on the interlock include whether there was a child in the vehicle at the time of the offense or whether the DUI/DWI offender was under the age of 21 at the time of the offense. The crime of refusing to submit to a chemical test also carries additional penalties related to the interlock ignition requirement.
While the ignition interlock allows DUI/DWI offenders the ability to drive, there is a strict process that has to be followed in order to comply with the Ignition Interlock program. To participate in the program, the DUI/DWI offender must be able to show that the vehicle on which the ignition interlock is installed is validly insured. The DUI/DWI offender must also pass the DUI/DWI driver’s license exam and fill out an application for a new driver’s license. The driver must sign the Minnesota Ignition Interlock Program Participation Agreement. Finally, the driver must pay the $680 reinstatement fee and provide this information to the Department of Public Safety.
The cost of the ignition interlock can also be significant. There is an installation fee that ranges from $90 to $100. Additionally there are monthly maintenance fees that range from $70 to $125 per month.
For more information on the ignition interlock, please call my office. In addition, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety has a section on their website with information on the Ignition Interlock program, which is located at https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/dvs/programs/mn-ignition-interlock/Pages/default.aspx.
© 2014 Rinke Noonan