One of the most common consequences that comes with facing a DUI charge is getting an interlock device put on your vehicle. You will have this as a constant part of your vehicle for no less than 12 months. Depending on if you have faced DUIs in the past, it could be up to 24 months. These devices are a simple way to ensure that you do not make the same mistake again, of getting behind the wheel if you have been drinking. However, it is also important that you know how they work.

What Exactly Is an Interlock Device?

Basically, an interlock device is a vehicle-mounted breathalyzer. It makes you breathe into it prior to starting your vehicle. It can detect even the smallest amounts of alcohol, and your vehicle will not start if you have any at all in your system. Should you rinse your mouth with an alcoholic mouthwash then try and start your car, your engine will not turn over. It is set to be very sensitive to any amount of alcohol, on purpose.

Any type of interlock device placed in your vehicle must meet or exceed the NHTSA, or National Highway Traffic Safety Administrators, guidelines. They are safe to use, many states rely on them to keep drivers safe, and they are of the highest quality product around to make sure you do not make a mistake you are sure to regret later. When it comes to getting one, you have someone legally allowed to drive bring the vehicle in with you, the interlock is installed in about an hour, and you are shown how to use it. From then on, you will blow into the unit, and as long as the alcohol is zero, your vehicle will start.

How Long Can I Expect to Have an Interlock Device on My Vehicle?

The length of time you have an interlock device on your vehicle directly relates to the charges you receive. If you are a first-time DUI offender, you can expect a full 12 months of breathing into the device before you go anywhere. However, if you offended in the past and this time was not just a normal DUI, the time goes up.

In Arizona, if you get pulled over with a blood alcohol level of 0.15 to 0.19, this is called an extreme DUI. If this is what your charge was and you are a repeat offender, then you should expect to have the device for at least 18 months. If your blood alcohol level was 0.20 or higher, then you qualified under the super-extreme DUI category. This changes the length of time that you will have your device up to 24 months, as a baseline. The judge can decide to increase that if she or he so chooses, depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest.

Commonly Asked Questions About Your Interlock Device

May I Start Up My Vehicle Without Using the Interlock Device? The simple answer to this is no. Following any type of DUI charges in Arizona, you need to have this device on your vehicle in order to get your driving privileges back. If you do not use it, your vehicle will not start.

What if Someone Plays Around and Blows a Bad Reading Into the Device Instead of Me? You are going to be the one that has to pay the proverbial price should someone else blow a bad reading into your device. You could wind up with a service interruption if a drunken friend tries to mess with your device. The best advice is just make sure you are the only one using the device, and never after drinking.

Will There Ever Be Random Tests While I’m Driving? The answer to that is yes in most cases, and nearly all makers or interlock devices have random breath tests built in. What happens is your device will notify you of a test. You will then have a few minutes to breathe into the unit. Once you have passed the test, your device will quiet down, and you can resume driving.

Does the Unit Ever Require Recalibration? All interlock devices require you to have them recalibrated now and again. Most devices require you to have it checked every 2-3 months. You can ask at the time of installation, just how often you need to come back and get the unit checked.

Can I Get Locked Out? If you blow into the unit after drinking, your unit will prevent the vehicle from starting. It will give you a few attempts before it shuts down your vehicle, in case there may be a false positive. However, if you were drinking and you are trying to drive, your vehicle will lock you out of the ability to drive for your own safety, and that of the people around you.

Does the Interlock Device Ever Come Out? Yes, when the time is done and you are cleared of this requirement, you can have your device removed. As long as the unit was installed professionally and you were gentle to the unit while you had it, there should be no lasting effects to your vehicle once it is gone.

A DUI Does Not Need to Dictate the Rest of Your Life

A DUI can be a mistake that you can overcome, if you make sure to take the right steps. Part of that is getting your life back in order. Here at the Stonewall Institute, we can help with that. We would love to help you figure out ways of getting past this mistake and moving forward with a life you can be proud of. Call us today at (602)535-6468, or email us directly at Let us know where you are with your DUI situation, and we will help you figure out where you need to be. We can help you understand the DUI process, help with a DUI screening, connect you with some of the DUI classes around, and even help you find an alcohol rehab facility if you want one. The choice of what type of future you want is in your hands!