You never know how a DUI or other drunk driving conviction will impact your life until you’re the one standing in the courtroom. If you are required to install a car breathalyzer or ignition interlock device, you’re probably feeling a little lucky that you still get to drive yourself around, despite your lapse in judgment. After all, when you were drinking and driving, there could have been a tragic outcome, not just the responsibility of fulfilling the consequences of your conviction.
Being lucky and having an ignition interlock requirement can help you keep your job, but, if you are an auto mechanic or otherwise involved in the operation of vehicles during your workday, that “luck” can be a whole other story. Technically, you’re not supposed to start or operate any vehicle without an ignition interlock device installed… yet, your job is to fix or maintain other peoples’ cars. Earning a paycheck has you in a place where you have to start engines, rev motors or drive cars that don’t have ignition interlocks installed. What do you do now?
There are ways to both keep your mechanic job and remain in compliance with your ignition interlock device. In some states you could qualify for an “employment exemption” or similar allowance. These exemptions could grant you permission to start and operate a vehicle without an ignition interlock, as long as that occurs during the course of your workday and you are operating the vehicle as a normal part of your job. Your employer will be informed about your status and is considered responsible for your actions while you’re “on the clock.” However, if you are the owner of a business that requires vehicles to be started or moved, you will probably have a harder time getting the same kind of exemption, as you won’t be seen as the best person to supervise your sobriety while at work.
Even if your job involves maintaining or repairing cars, your ignition interlock requirement isn’t necessarily an obstacle in your life. Instead, you could still be eligible for the device and to keep working on cars, all of which puts you back on the road to recovery from a drunk driving conviction.