Craig KuharyCriminal Defense
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Should you know about ignition interlock law in Wisconsin?

Not everybody needs to know about the ignition interlock law. However, if you are ever charged with OWI in Wisconsin, you may become more familiar with this device than you ever anticipated. You may think that if you are a first offender, you will not have to use an IID, but that is not necessarily true, as any criminal defense attorney will tell you.

Depending on your blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, the court may order you to have an IID installed on your vehicle. Therefore, if you drink and drive, perhaps you should learn more about the ignition interlock law in this state.

How the IID works

The idea behind installation of an ignition interlock device is to reduce the number of drunk drivers on highways, and the IID is very successful in helping to meet this goal. The device is about the size of a mobile phone and attaches to ignition wiring beneath the dashboard of your car and in the engine compartment. Basically, it is a computer with a mouthpiece attached. When you blow into the mouthpiece, the computer registers the BAC level. If it is below the programmed limit, the vehicle will start. If it exceeds the limit, the car will not start and you will have to wait several minutes before providing another breath sample.

The IID and OWI offenses

In the state of Wisconsin, all repeat OWI offenders must have the ignition interlock device installed in any vehicles that are registered to their names. The only other alternative is to have the vehicles immobilized. First offenders who have a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher must have the IID installed. In addition, any driver who refuses to give a law enforcement officer a blood or breath sample during a traffic stop is automatically in line for an IID. If you have any questions about ignition interlock law, your attorney can give you more information regarding your circumstances.

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