Almost every state requires some drunk drivers to install an ignition interlock while 20 states require all convicted drunk drivers to install the device. Unfortunately, many convicted DUI offenders ignore the order by driving without one, whether they install an interlock but borrow someone else’s car when they need to drive or simply fail to install the device.
If a judge orders you to install an ignition interlock as part of your DUI sentencing, we encourage you to install the device in your vehicle(s) and only operate the vehicle(s) in which the interlock is installed. Driving without your court-ordered interlock is not only a violation of your driver’s license suspension but can have serious consequences, both for you and other drivers on the road:
- Fines: Driving on a suspended driver’s license and without a court-ordered interlock after a DUI conviction can lead to a fine of up to $5,000.
- Longer license suspension: Driving without your interlock can also lengthen your license suspension and interlock installation period.
- Car impoundment: In some states, your car (or the car you borrowed to avoid driving with an interlock) may be impounded if you’re caught driving without your interlock.
- Jail time: Jail time is also a common consequence for driving without your interlock, especially for a second offense. If convicted, you could face 1 to 5 years in jail, depending on the state. If driving without the interlock is also a DUI-related probation violation, you may face additional jail time.
- Loss of rights: In some states, driving without a court-ordered interlock is a felony. As a convicted felon, you’ll lose your right to vote, face travel restrictions, and miss out on education and housing opportunities.
- Drunk driving and related consequences: And, of course, driving without your interlock enables you to drive drunk, which can lead to another DUI on top of the offense of driving without your interlock or even a crash that could kill or injure you and others on the road.
We know that driving with an ignition interlock isn’t exactly fun, but you were ordered to install the device for your own safety and the safety of others on the road. You were also ordered to install the device because you broke the law. But rather than seeing an interlock as a punishment, see it as the tool that it is: a device designed to help you learn to not drink and drive. Seeing your interlock as a helpful tool can make the process much easier and even benefit you in the future.