Ignition Interlock Devices Now Mandatory In DWI Convictions

Beginning on August 15, 2010, as part of Leandra’s Law passed by the New York State Legislature last November, motorists convicted of New York DWI will be required to install and maintain ignition interlocks in their vehicles. The law will apply to drivers convicted of felony DWI or misdemeanor DWI. Anyone convicted of or pleading guilty to driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 BAC or above will be required to obtain the ignition interlock.

The ignition interlock measures the level of alcohol of a motorist’s breath. If the device detects a trace of alcohol on the driver’s breath, it will not permit the car to start. Further, the driver will periodically have to blow into the device on a regular schedule, and if he or she fails to do so, or does have alcohol on his or her breath, the car’s horn will begin to sound, or the lights will start flashing, to alert authorities that the driver has failed to comply with the ignition interlock system in the vehicle. Some devices will cut off the ignition if the driver has failed the test while driving.

The Westchester County Department of Probation will administer the ignition interlock program here in Westchester County. It will be interesting to see how the program functions in the early stages, since at present, the installation of ignition interlocks in vehicles has only applied to multiple DWI offenders or in felony DWI cases. Thus, adding on misdemeanor and first time DWI offenders will substantially increase the burden on the Probation Department and likely create enforcement problems in the early stages of the ignition interlock program.

If you are charged with a New York DWI or any drunk driving charge, contact the Westchester County Drunk Driving Lawyers at the Law Office of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at (914) 428-7386 for a free consultation with any experienced and knowledgeable attorney to discuss your case and advise you as to your legal rights and options.