When a Wisconsin resident is arrested on drunk driving charges, the penalties for a conviction can be significant. Most people will understand that there is a chance for fines, a driver’s license revocation and even jail time. However, there are other penalties that can be assessed as well. There may be an order for an ignition interlock device to be placed on the driver’s vehicle. Knowing when this is a possibility and how it can affect a person’s life is imperative, just as it is important to present a strong defense to try to avoid a conviction.

An ignition interlock device makes it necessary for the driver to blow into a mouthpiece so that the machine can register the person’s blood-alcohol concentration before the vehicle will start. It will also require than the driver to blow into the device intermittently to ensure that he or she was not drinking after the vehicle initially started or if someone who was not under the influence blew into it so the vehicle would start. Drivers who have had repeat convictions for operating while intoxicated, those who have refused to submit to a test to determine BAC and those who are convicted of a first offense OWI and have a BAC of 0.15 or above must have the ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle.

The device must be installed on every vehicle the person owns or has registered unless there has been a court-ordered exemption. The driver’s license will be restricted in such a way that it is only legal to drive a vehicle that has the device installed. The ignition interlock device must be on the vehicle for at least one year. To drive legally, the restriction will start when the person has received an occupational license or the license has been reinstated.

If the driver fails to install the device, removes it, disconnects it, tampers with it or circumvents it, the duration for which the device will be installed will be extended by six months. While the order is in place, there will be a Prohibitive Alcohol Concentration of 0.02 for those who have an order to install the device. When confronted with OWI charges, it is imperative to understand the potential penalties if there is a conviction, including the installation of an ignition interlock device. The right approach in drunk driving cases is critical to crafting a successful defense.