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Will I Need a Car Breathalyzer After a DWI Conviction in Texas?

 Posted on April 25, 2024 in DWI

Tarrant County, TX DWI defense lawyerGetting caught driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas can mean heavy fines, driver’s license suspension, and/or prison time. In some cases, a judge will order the defendant’s car to be outfitted with a breathalyzer, otherwise known as an ignition interlock device.

This article will discuss what an ignition interlock device is and when it becomes mandatory. If you have been charged with a DWI, contact a Texas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so you can begin setting up your defense.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

As technology evolves, so does the criminal justice system. Some states will adopt a certain technology if it can help prevent further crimes. One of these technologies is the ignition interlock device (IID), which Texas law requires in some DWI cases.

An IID is a handheld breathalyzer that is installed in your car and measures your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Here is how it works:

  • Anytime you want to start your car, you need to first blow into the IID’s nozzle to get a BAC reading.

  • If the BAC is over the legal limit of 0.08 percent, or if you do not blow into the IID, the car will not start for 15 minutes.

  • After 15 minutes, you may try again. Each failure to get a satisfactory BAC reading will lock you out of your car for a longer period.

  • If your BAC is above the legal limit, the IID will record the result and report it to the Texas Department of Transportation.

  • You will also be required to give breath samples throughout your drive, called random rolling retests.

  • If there is an attempt to tamper with the device, the IID will activate the car’s horn and emergency blinkers, record the attempt, and require the driver to take the car to be serviced. 

  • If the driver fails to get a safe BAC reading on three separate occasions, the IID will require the driver to get the car serviced. If this is not done within a week, the IID shuts down the car indefinitely.

Will I Need an Ignition Interlock Device?

Not every DWI case will be required to get a breathalyzer. Texas law requires an IID in two cases:

  • If there has been more than one DWI conviction in the last five years

  • If the defendant’s BAC was .15 percent or higher

This means that even if this is your first conviction, you can still be required to get an IID if your BAC was high enough. In this case, you can be required to have an IID for a period between 90 days to one year. If it was not your first DWI offense, you may need to have an IID for 180 days to two years.

Contact a Dallas, TX Criminal Defense Lawyer

A DWI conviction carries heavy penalties, some of which are at a judge’s discretion. An experienced Tarrant County, Texas criminal defense lawyer can be the key to getting you the best result possible. Michelle Poblenz has over 20 years of experience providing top-tier legal services and will fight to get you the best outcome available. Call the Law Office of Michelle Poblenz at 469-845-3031 for a consultation today.

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