Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Ignition Interlock Devices
Q: Hi there, my father is an alcoholic and has had 2 DUI arrests. After a year off from drinking due to a series of knee surgeries, he has started driving again and is basically intoxicated most of that time. My family is wondering if there is anything we can do to get him off the street and in turn get him away from potentially killing an innocent family or person. We have looked into an interlock system so that he will have to breath into a device in order to start the car. That seem like the best alternative since my mom works and cannot take his car keys away and cannot babysit him all the time and know what he is up to. Does that require a court order to get that done?

A: A breath interlock device for the ignitions is a smart idea. These are sometimes ordered in DUI/OWI convictions by judges, although this is unfortunately not a common option in St. Joseph County cases that I have seen.

All DUI offenders have the potential to benefit from the use of an ignition interlock - its installation allows offenders to maintain their responsibilities while also reminding them that their behavior has a direct impact on their right to drive. Court systems and motor vehicle administrations agree that it is a valuable tool because it deters individuals from driving while intoxicated while the device is installed. Additionally, when its use is required as a provision of probation/parole, the threat of doing jail time better ensures that DUI offenders will correctly use the device each and every time he/she gets behind the wheel.

In your case, the installation would be dependent upon court order or through the BMV. If your father is still on probation for an OWI offense, you may be able to petition for this by discussing it with his probation officer. If he is not, it is unfortunately unlikely that one can involuntarily be placed without his consent or court order. You may try contacting the BMV as well to see if they have any input. Another option may be to research the use and attempt to convince your father that it may be a valuable tool in preventing another OWI before it happens with possible tragic outcomes. Good Luck!

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posted by South Bend Police Department @ 3:05 PM  

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