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Is an ignition interlock device mandatory after first DWI?

After facing a charge for driving while intoxicated, you may wonder what the outcomes of your case will be. Because each situation like this is unique, your results and the case itself will differ from those of others who have faced similar charges. Understandably, you may feel overwhelmed, simply by the fact that police have charged you with a crime.

Before letting yourself feel intimidated by the situation, you may want to remember that you have legal options and the right to defend against any allegations made against you. Still, you may wonder what could happen if the court does return a conviction for your case.

Ignition interlock devices

In New York, if the court convicts you of DWI, the law mandates that you will have to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. This device measures the amount of alcohol in your system to determine your blood alcohol concentration level. Commonly, the vehicle will not start if your BAC is over a certain level, which may range from .02 to .04 percent. Many advocates for roadway safety believe that mandatory ignition interlock devices save lives, and research supports those beliefs.

Fewer deaths

A study from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety indicated that, in states where ignition interlock devices are mandatory after a first-time DWI conviction, fatal crashes resulting from impaired drivers dropped by 16 percent. Further statistics showed that, when only repeat offenders installed these devices, the number of fatalities dropped by 3 percent. That number decreased by 8 percent when both repeat offenders and first-time offenders with high BAC levels installed the interlock devices.

Laws change

Of course, laws are constantly changing. In fact, the mandatory installation for ignition interlock devices on vehicles for first-time DWI offenders only went into effect in New York in 2009. Therefore, the possibility exists that laws could change further to create greater restrictions, close loopholes or otherwise modify the possible consequences of a DWI conviction.

If police have charged you with DWI, you may benefit from understanding the allegations, your defense options and the possible repercussions you could face if a conviction takes place. Fortunately, you do not have to navigate the complex world of criminal justice on your own. Enlisting the help of a defense attorney experienced with DWI laws may prove beneficial to you.

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