Just like driving without a driver’s license after a drunk driving conviction can land you in trouble with the court, tampering with a court-ordered ignition interlock installed after a DUI conviction can leave you facing even more consequences. The consequences vary from state to state, but tampering with a court-ordered interlock can result in a hefty fine or even a felony conviction.
Yet, the news has been riddled with DUI offenders tampering with or trying to fool their court-ordered ignition interlock … using their children. 42-year-old Arizonan Nicole Montez had her 11-year-old child blow into the device because she’d been drinking. When Montez was later arrested at home, she had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.215. That’s over twice the legal limit of 0.08!
Then there’s Pennsylvanian Robert E. Kitchen, Jr. who was sentenced to six months in a work release center after having his 15-year-old child blow into his court-ordered ignition interlock 15 to 20 times between June 2012 and October 2012.
Like these two offenders, many people think they can circumvent their ignition interlock but often end up facing some tough consequences because you can’t just fool an interlock. Here’s a quick glimpse of the various consequences for tampering with a court-ordered ignition interlock in the U.S.:
- Fine. Fines can range from $100 to $10,000
- Imprisonment. Jail time can range from 48 hours to five years.
- Interlock installation extension. The period for which the DUI offender was originally sentenced to keep the interlock installed may be extended up to two years.
- Loss of driving privileges. Some states revoke the interlock installation and restricted driving privileges that come with it and remove all driving privileges.
- Alcohol monitoring. Ohio requires offenders to wear an alcohol monitoring device.
Tampering with an ignition interlock can also land you additional charges and consequences. For example, both Montez and Kitchen were charged with DUI child endangerment, or driving drunk while a child under a certain age is in the vehicle.
If you’ve been court-ordered to install an interlock, remember that its purpose is not to punish you but to help you drive safely and legally and continue being a productive citizen.