Tennessee’s DUI laws carry many different penalties. One such penalty is the ignition interlock device. The ignition interlock device is a device that connects a motor vehicle’s ignition system to a breath alcohol analyzer and prevents the motor vehicle from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol level exceeds the calibrated setting.
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Currently under Tennessee law, that setting is two-hundredths of one percent (.02) blood alcohol concentration. That means that if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration is greater than .02, the device will prevent the motor vehicle from starting.
As of January 1, 2011, Tennessee law requires anyone convicted of a first-offense DUI to install an interlock ignition device under the following circumstances:
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- if the person’s blood or breath alcohol concentration was .15 or greater;
- if the person was accompanied by someone under 18 years of age;
- if the person was involved in a traffic accident requiring notification and the accident was the proximate result of intoxication;
- or in certain situations involving violation of the implied consent law (also known as refusal to submit).
A person convicted of a second offense DUI in Tennessee will also be required to install an ignition interlock device. For second offenders the device must be installed during the period of license suspension, which is two years long (additionally, the individual cannot apply for a restricted license during the first year, and thus may not drive at all during that time).
If the first DUI offense was within five years of the second offense, the driver must keep the device on their vehicle for an additional six months after the license revocation period has ended.
In addition to mandatory installation of the ignition interlock device, there may also be situations where the judge orders installation. In these situations the law does not require the device to be installed, but the judge may order it based on his or her own discretion. If the judge does order the device to be installed, the device may be ordered to remain on the vehicle for up to a year after the offender’s license revocation period has ended. Thus an individual who has an ignition interlock device installed by the judge’s order may have to keep the device on longer than if the law requires the device to be installed.
Finally, an individual may request to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle. If they do, then the geographic restrictions of the restricted driver’s license are lifted. However, they must pay for the device themselves. If an individual is ordered by the court to install the device, they are eligible to have the cost of the device paid from the state’s Interlock Assistance Fund.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence in the Memphis area, contact Memphis DUI attorney Patrick Stegall. He will review your case and advise you of your best options.