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Ignition interlock devices as penalties for DUIs

On Behalf of | Aug 15, 2023 | Criminal Law |

Fines and jail time are some of the penalties awaiting drivers charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Montana. But a court can also order a convicted driver to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on their vehicle.

An IID is a device that locks a vehicle from starting unless it detects that the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level is low enough. When does a DUI lead to an IID installation, and are there rules for its usage?

IID installation

In Montana, a driver can have an IID installed on their vehicle as early as their first DUI offense, especially if their first offense was an aggravated DUI. Aggravated DUIs are handed out to drivers under the following conditions:

  • High BAC: The driver’s BAC during a roadside test was .16% or more.
  • Previous DUI conviction with IID requirement: The driver was under a previous DUI conviction to have an IID installed in their car.
  • Suspended or revoked license: The driver’s license or driving privilege was suspended or revoked for a previous DUI violation.
  • Refusing to give a breath sample: If a driver refuses to submit a breath sample during a roadside test, their license could be suspended or revoked on the spot by the officer in charge, and the refusal will be a factor in making the DUI charge an aggravated one.

A court can order a driver to have an IID installed on a second or subsequent DUI offense, whether aggravated or not.

Once a court orders the IID installation, it will also recommend that the driver use a probationary license, which shows that they’re only allowed to drive vehicles with an IID. The driver is also responsible for the costs to install, rent and maintain the IID.

Penalties for tampering with IIDs

There are punishments for anyone trying to tamper or cheat around an IID. The following IID-related offenses are illegal and can lead to penalties:

  • A driver with a probationary license operates a vehicle without an IID.
  • The restricted driver has another sober person use the IID to start the vehicle.
  • Circumventing the IID through tampering with the device.

Anyone convicted of committing these penalties will have to pay a maximum $500 fine and serve up to six months in prison.

IIDs are a penalty enforced to ensure the driver is sober enough to operate a vehicle. But IIDs are expensive to install and maintain, not to mention the rules around their use. If you face DUI charges, know that a court can ask you to have an IID installed.