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Are all DUI offenders required to use ignition interlock devices?

Not all convicted DUI offenders are required to use ignition interlock devices in the state of Wisconsin. However, a revised law that took effect in July 2010 strengthened the operating while intoxicated laws, and increased the mandatory usage of interlock devices.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, ignition interlock devices are mandated with the following DUI offenses:

  • First offense: An IID must be used for a minimum of 12 months if the driver’s blood alcohol content level is 0.15 percent or higher. An IID may also be ordered if the driver refuses to submit to a breath or field sobriety test.
  • Second offense: An IID is mandated for a period of 12 to 18 months.
  • Third, fourth and fifth offenses: An IID is mandated for a minimum period of 12 months and a maximum period of three years.

Previously, all court-ordered IID restriction periods started from the time the judge made their ruling. They now begin after an offender obtains an operator’s license from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

The Wisconsin Bar reports that in cases where a DUI offender is experiencing financial hardship, the judge may choose to limit the number of interlock devices they order or decide to abstain from ordering an IID at all. Low income offenders, who are 150 percent below the federal poverty level and are ordered to use an ignition interlock device, may have their daily monitoring costs and installation fees reduced by half after they successfully pay the mandatory surcharge fee, which is $50 for each device.

Under the new law, people who fail to install an ordered interlock device or attempt to disconnect, tamper or remove their device may be charged with a misdemeanor. This will automatically extend the IID usage period by six months. Additional penalties include possible incarceration and fines.

People who are convicted of a DUI may find it useful to understand the basics of ignition interlock devices so they know what to expect. This information is intended for general use and should not be used as legal advice.

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