Ignition Interlock Device No Longer Required Drug DUI Penalty in Arizona

A Comprehensive Overview of Arizona’s Ignition Interlock Program & Legislative Changes

Arizona drivers currently found guilty of DUI charges are required to install and use an ignition interlock device (IID).

It doesn’t matter that their DUI did not involve alcohol.  It doesn’t’ matter that they never used alcohol a day in their lives.

Requiring a person convicted of a drug DUI to install and submit to an IID screening before they can start their vehicle, never made a lot of sense.

This was particularly true if the driver didn’t drink alcohol, considering that current IID technology does not allow for detection of drugs in a person’s body.

Current IID technology is limited to detection of spirituous liquor on a person’s breath during exhalation.

It may have served a punitive purpose;  but it did nothing to prevent a driver from driving impaired due to drugs.

This however, is about to change.

Arizona’s SB 1228 has passed.  It will allow for judges to have some discretion as to whether or not to impose installation and use of an IID for Drug DUI convictions.

This article provides a comprehensive look at Arizona’s Ignition Interlock Device Program and other related topics included:

  • Overview of Arizona SB 1228
  • Ignition Interlock Devices used in DUI Sentencing
  • Arizona Removes Ignition Interlock Device Requirement for Drug DUI
  • How the new law will Impact Arizona Drivers
  • Driver Obligations for Use and Reporting of Ignition Interlock Device
  • 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Arizona DUI IID Program
  • DUI Classifications, Penalties & Criminal Defense Mesa AZ

Trends in Ignition Interlock Device Program for DUI Sentencing 

An ignition interlock device (IID) is a device that is attached to a car, which uses a breathalyzer to analyze a driver’s blood alcohol content before allowing the driver to start the car.

If the device detects an amount of alcohol above a certain limit, the car will not be able to be started.

About 23 states have laws requiring the installation and use of a certified IID  for a driver convicted of DUI, including Arizona.

In those states, there has been a 15% reduction in drunken driving deaths compared to the states that don’t require an IID after conviction.

Generally, a convicted driver is required to pay for and install the device, and this adds to the costs of a DUI conviction.

As of 2006, Arizona started requiring all IID systems to be based on a particular alcohol-specific electrochemical fuel sensor technology.

Those who are required to install Ignition Interlock Devices have had to submit to periodic inspections every 90 days to show they are complying with the order and have installed a functional, certified IID in every motor vehicle they operate.

The department can suspend the driver’s driving privileges if the inspection and compliance requirements are not met.

Arizona SB 1228

 Elimination of Mandatory Use of Ignition Interlock Device in Drug DUI Sentencing 

Arizona’s SB 1228 bill amends Sections of the Drug DUI law A.R.S. 28-1381 and other code sections related to driving under the influence.

The existing code section makes it unlawful for someone to drive or control a car while (1) under the influence of alcohol or any drug or vapor, if he or she is impaired even a little bit, (2) with a blood alcohol level of .08 or more within two hours of driving, if it results from consuming alcohol either before or while controlling a car, (3) there are certain drugs or their metabolites in the driver’s body, or (4) driving a commercial vehicle with an alcohol concentration of .04 or greater.

Arizona DUI laws still require a person convicted of impaired driving with alcohol, be required to install an IID in any car the defendant operates under A.R.S. 28-3319.

What the new bill does is remove the IID requirement for DUI offenders who are charged with driving under the influence of drugs.

It does allow a judge the discretion to order someone convicted of a drunk driving violation that doesn’t involve intoxicating liquor (someone convicted for driving under the influence of drugs) to install a certified IID in his or her car.

If the court requires installation as part of the sentence, the department will still require the defendant to install the person’s car with an IID under Section 28-3319.

In other words the court now has discretion to impose the penalty or not, where before they did not.

This allows the decision as to whether or not to require installation of an IID to be based on the unique factors and circumstances surrounding the Drug DUI incident.

The court can also order someone to install an IID on any vehicle the person operates for more than 12 months starting on the latest of these dates:  (1) the date the person’s driving privilege is reinstated after a revocation or suspension, or (2) the date the department receives a conviction report.  Someone who operates a vehicle that has an IID installed under the impaired driving statute has to comply with certain rules specified in Article 5.

Initially, the bill failed, but it passed after a motion to reconsider.  The new law will become effective after December 31, 2016.

How Arizona’s New Drug DUI IID Law will Impact Arizona Drivers

DUI penalties may be mandatory or discretionary by the presiding judge.

The impact of the Arizona SB 1228 is that sentencing for Drug DUI charges makes IIDs discretionary by the judge in sentencing, and no longer mandatory.

After December 31, 2016, it will no longer be mandatory for a person convicted of a Drug DUI to use an ignition interlock device on the vehicle they drive.

Though it will no longer be required, the court has been given the authority to decide of the IID penalty should be ordered in drug DUI sentencing.

  Driver Obligations for Use and Reporting of a DUI Ignition Interlock Device

Under A.R.S. 28-1461 a person convicted of a DUI will be required to install and use a certified IID.

The driver bears has certain responsibilities under the program in which they must comply.  

Some of the driver’s obligations include:

  • Install a certified ignition interlock device in any vehicle they drive;
  • Submit to alcohol screening with use of the device in their vehicle each time before starting the vehicle, as well as at random intervals during operation of the vehicle;
  • Incur expenses for installing and maintaining the certified IID;
  • Provide proof of installation and proper functioning of the IID in the vehicle they drive;
  • Show proof that they are complying; and that the device has been inspected and is operating properly at least every 3 months during the time they’ve been ordered to use the device.

The ignition interlock device service provider works closely with person and the MVD to help the driver comply with these obligations.

10 Frequently Asked Questions about Arizona’s DUI Ignition Interlock Device Laws  

Q. How does the ignition interlock device prevent someone            from driving impaired due to alcohol?

A. The ignition interlock device sits on top of the vehicle dashboard and is wired to the vehicle’s engine. The driver must exhale into the device before starting the vehicle. If it detects liquor on the driver’s breath, the engine will not start.

Q. How is the IID and use of it monitored?

A. The IID provider monitors usage. They are required to send maintenance and activity reports to throughout the term imposed, to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division.   

Q. When a driver gets stopped by police will the officer know whether or not that driver is required they know if a driver is required to have a certified IID installed in their vehicle?

A. Yes. Once the person’s driver’s license is reinstated, a new license is issued by the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department. It will include a label with the words “Ignition Interlock” on it.

Q. What happens if the driver tampers with the device, or violates the usage rules?

A. If it is discovered that the driver failed to comply, attempts to drive other vehicles without Certified IID, or if there is evidence of device tampering, they will be in violation of Arizona Law A.R.S. § 28-1464. Consequences of these violations may result an extension of the time period for which the IID must be used, for up to 12 more months. Specified violations under this law will also result in Class 1 misdemeanor criminal charges. In addition, any person who knowingly rents, leases, or lends a driver their vehicle knowing that driver is required to use a certified device, will also be exposed to Class 1 misdemeanor Charges.

Q. Who pays for installation of the IID?

A. The person convicted of the DUI is responsible for expenses associated with installation and monitor charges of the IID.

Q. What is the average cost of installation and use of an IID in Arizona?

A. The costs of IID vary among providers. In general there is usually an installation fee that ranges from $100.00 to $200.00. Monthly rental fees range from $75.00 to $100.00 per month.

Q. How long will a person be required to use the IID?

A. The judge will order the time length for the IID to be imposed at the time of sentencing. Ranges include 6months, 12 months, 18 months, or 24 months depending on the circumstances surrounding the conviction.

Q. Is it possible to get a restricted driver’s license with the required IID for use during the suspension or revocation period?

A. Yes. If a person meets all of the qualifications, they may be eligible to drive on a limited basis, with a restricted license. They will need to provide proof that the vehicle  they will be driving is equipped with a certified ignition interlock device. 

Q. Does a person convicted of a drunk driving charge need to have their vehicle equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device before their driver’s license can be reinstated?

A. Yes. After a person has satisfied the court ordered driver’s license suspension or revocation period, and all requirements ordered by the court, they will be able to apply for reinstatement of their driver’s license. Under A.R.S. § 28 – 1461 A (2) in order for a person’s driver’s license to be reinstated, or a special restricted driver’s license issued, they must provide the Arizona MVD with proof that they have installed a certified IID in the vehicle (s) they operate before their driver’s license will be reinstated.

Q. Does the IID only need to be installed in the primary vehicle driven by the person required to use the IID?

A. No. It is necessary for any and all vehicles the person will drive to be equipped with certified ignition interlock devices, not just their primary vehicle. This includes vehicles the person rents, borrows or leases. 

Arizona DUI Classifications and Penalties

All DUI charges in Arizona are criminal offenses. Penalties are severe, and expose a person to jail or prison terms.

Impaired Driving charges may be brought as Misdemeanors or Felonies.

Drunk Driving charges in violation of Arizona’s Extreme DUI laws, are still misdemeanors.  But in general, the higher the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), the longer the terms of incarceration.

Misdemeanor DUI charges carry jail terms that range from 10 days to 6 months.

Aggravated DUI charges (Felony) carry prison sentences that range from 10 days to 8 months or more depending on the circumstances.

A Misdemeanor DUI will be raised to a (Felony) DUI when aggravated factors exist.

Aggravated factors include DUI while driving on a suspended, revoked, or invalid driver’s license; DUI with a passenger below 15 years of age in the vehicle; third DUI within 7 years; or DUI that causes a serious injury or fatality.

Other penalties for misdemeanor impaired driving charges include installation and use of an ignition interlock device; driver’s license suspension, probation terms, alcohol or substance abuse screening or counseling, fines, and costs.

Felony DUI penalties include those that apply to misdemeanors but are more severe, and subject a person to a felony criminal record, loss of civil rights such as the right to possess or carry a firearm, and to vote.

When a person is charged with a DUI in Arizona their freedom and future is in jeopardy. They will need a strong impaired driving defense attorney to defend their charges and make sure their rights are protected.

It is important to choose a DUI defense attorney who understands how serious a DUI charge is and can develop a strategy to challenge weak evidence, and work to get the best possible outcome.

Criminal Defense Attorney for DUI in Mesa, AZ

“Prepared to Defend”

If you are charged with any type of DUI, consult James E. Novak, DUI defense attorney in Tempe, Arizona.  James Novak is former Maricopa County Prosecutor and experienced litigator.  If retained, he will protect your rights, make sure you are treated fairly and provide you with a strong defense for your charges.

James Novak of the Law Office of James Novak, PLLC offers a free consultation for those charged with a DUI or other criminal offenses in Maricopa County, including the cities of Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, and Scottsdale, Arizona.

James Novak will speak with you directly to discuss your matter, and provide you with options for defense.  Call or Contact us today at (480) 413-1499.

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