Tennessee laws are strict when it comes to punishing drunk drivers. Sentencing for DUIs in the state can include months or years in jail, hefty fines, court costs, and restrictions or complete loss of driving privileges. An additional and recent addition to these penalties is the requirement for the one convicted of DUI to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on his or her vehicle in order to be given a restricted driver’s license.

Operation of the ignition interlock device

An ignition interlock device is a relatively small gadget integrated into the technology of the vehicle that enables it to start. It has the features of a mobile breathalyzer in that it requires the driver to blow into the device which checks the driver’s breath for alcohol content before the vehicle will start.

Under Tennessee DUI law, the IID must be programmed to fail and prevent the vehicle from starting if the user’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) records 0.02% or greater.

Tennessee law also requires the device to include the ability to take a photograph of the individual breathing into the machine. This feature is required in order to prevent the individual from having another person breathe into the device in order to avoid being monitored for alcohol in the system. The photograph must record the time and date it was taken.

Of course, it is illegal for any individual required to have and use an IID to ask someone else to blow into the device. Any type of tampering with the device is illegal.

Other obligations with an IID requirement

The one who has been convicted of DUI and is required to install an ignition interlock device must pay the costs associated with the IID requirement unless he or she qualifies for state assistance due to low income. In addition, any person convicted of DUI in Tennessee is required to pay an ignition interlock fee as determined by the state.

The importance of legal counsel at the sentencing stage

With limited exceptions, Tennessee law requires those convicted of DUI wanting to access the Restricted Driver’s License to use an IID in their vehicle. Although it is important to have strong legal counsel if you are under investigation of or have been charge with, or convicted of DUI, it is also essential in the sentencing stage. An experienced DUI attorney can interpret Tennessee’s IID laws in the most effective manner with respect to a defendant’s criminal history, the DUI in question, and the circumstances of his or her arrest.

If the defendant needs to use an ignition interlock device as a condition for driving, his or her Tennessee driving license will include that requirement. The law also demands requirements reporting of the devices installation proper functioning, monitoring for proper use, and accuracy. The court must be notified of any violations.

At Banks and Jones, our Knoxville DUI defense attorneys are ready to defend your rights. We have been fighting for the accused for close to three decades. We strongly fight on your behalf to remove evidence from your case, including blood or breath tests that were not properly obtained. Through cross-examination, we also effectively challenge the police’s version of events. Contact us before you speak with law enforcement. Give us a call today at 865-546-2141  or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.