All about ignition interlock devices

In Wisconsin, driving while under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating substance is operating while intoxicated. According to this state’s laws, ignition interlock devices are part of the penalty for drivers in certain situations involving OWIs.

In these situations, judges do not have the discretion to decide whether or not a person may install an IID in his or her vehicle; installation is a mandatory requirement.

What is the purpose of an IID?

An IID is an electronic device that accepts breath samples and analyzes their alcohol content. An IID-equipped vehicle will not allow the driver to operate it unless his or her breath alcohol content is below 0.02%. If the sample contains more alcohol than this pre-set amount, the vehicle will not start. In addition to the initial test, while the car is in motion, the IID requires the driver to provide breath samples at random intervals. The IID evaluates these samples, and if it detects a concentration of 0.02%, it activates the vehicle’s horn and emergency lights.

When is an IID required?

In the following situations, a judge must order the driver to equip all of his or her vehicle(s) with an IID:

  • Drivers with a first OWI conviction and a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15% or higher
  • Drivers with repeated OWI convictions
  • Drivers who refuse to provide a blood sample or breath sample in order to evaluate intoxication

How does a driver comply with an IID order?

An IID order means that the driver cannot legally operate a vehicle unless it is IID-equipped and must install an IID in every vehicle that the driver owns. If the driver fails to comply with the judge’s order, he or she will need to pay a fine of $150-$600 and/or spend up to six months in jail, and the original order will extend by an additional six months.

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