Traffic Violations

5 Things You Need to Know About an Ignition Interlock Device

Recent New Jersey laws allow drivers convicted of a DUI the ability to drive with a restricted driver’s license. One of the conditions for these licenses is the installation and use of an ignition interlock device. Although not every driver qualifies for a restricted license, working with a New Jersey DUI attorney can help you get back on the road in a safe manner. Using an ignition interlock device allows you to get to school, work, or other important locations while working on paying off your DUI charge.

How an Ignition Interlock Device Works

When the court orders you to have an ignition interlock device installed in your car, it’s essentially an order to take a breathalyzer test whenever you get behind the wheel. The ignition interlock device requires you to test your blood alcohol content level before starting the car. If your BAC level is above the set limit, then the device locks the ignition of your car, preventing you from operating it. 

Ignition interlock devices resist tampering and fraud. The device will require additional testing during travel to prevent drivers from having a sober friend or relative start the car for them. If a driver tampers with or removes the device, they face additional penalties, including an extra year of license suspension.

Installing an Ignition Interlock Device

When applying for a restricted driver’s license, you need to prove proper installation of an ignition interlock device. However, you can’t just go to the store and buy one to put in yourself. There are certified manufacturers and installers that must install the device for you. You can find a list of them on the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission website. Once they install the interlock device, you need to send copies of the documentation the installer provides you to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, Driver Management Bureau. 

Failure to have an ignition interlock device installed could prevent you from getting a restricted license and may result in fines and other penalties if a device was court-ordered. The ignition interlock device will also need to be calibrated regularly, about every two to three months. So when choosing a location to get your device installed, make sure it’s somewhere you can conveniently return to for maintenance.

Photo by Orkun Azap on Unsplash

Moving States

Even if your DUI charge is in New Jersey, all penalties continue to apply even if you move to a different state. Your license suspension will continue to hold, and any installed interlock devices must remain installed for the full duration of your charge. Failure to comply with the requirements issued in New Jersey will result in fines and penalties from the state you moved to. Your driver’s license and all associated records are available across the entire country. If your license is suspended or you accrued points in another state, your current state may refuse you a license until you rectify the situation.

Ignition Interlock Costs

Drivers must cover the full costs of an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicles. Besides the initial cost of installation, each ignition device also has a daily maintenance cost drivers must pay. The cost is typically somewhere between $2.50 to $3.50, depending on how often you use the device and how much monitoring you need. Because having a faulty or broken ignition interlock device can apply heavier penalties to drivers, many also choose to purchase a monthly protection plan that will repair or replace the device if something happens to it.

Drivers who are unable to pay for the cost of a device can apply to financial assistance programs for help. As long as you have proof that you currently receive government assistance for your financial situation, you can get help covering the costs of the device. It can get costly to install and manage an ignition interlock device, but having one is often the only option if you commute to work and don’t have access to other reliable transportation.

Ignition Interlock Devices and License Suspension

Most DUI convictions include a license suspension penalty. Drivers who complete the requirements for a restricted license may be able to restore some of their driving privileges earlier. However, even those still with a license suspension may be required to install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle they typically operate. Judges often issue a court-ordered ignition interlock device for drivers with suspended licenses. This is to prevent further DUI incidents during their suspension period. Failure to install a device often results in an additional year of license suspension time.

Working with a New Jersey DUI Attorney

When you face DUI charges, an attorney can help you defend your case and reduce the penalties you face. A DUI charge is complex and requires multiple court appearances, fines, and paperwork you need to keep track of. With a New Jersey DUI attorney, however, you’ll be able to move through the process quickly. If you’re facing DUI charges, contact attorney Leon Matchin today. His expertise in New Jersey traffic laws and procedures can help you reduce your charges. He can also make sense of what you need to do to restore your driving record and privileges. To consult him about your case today, give him a call at (833) 732-7320, or email him at

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