Are Ignition Interlock Devices Even Legal? (Spoiler: Yes.)

17 Aug 2017
interlock device
Woman in car blowing into breathalyzer

If you have been ordered by the court to install an interlock ignition device in your car, it might seem like an invasion of your personal freedoms. In fact, if you are unfamiliar with the benefits of these car breathalyzers, it can be difficult to understand their purpose at all.

This guide is designed to help you understand whether or not interlock ignition devices are legal, and whether or not they can help you avoid future trouble.

Are Ignition Interlock Devices Legal?

In short, yes, they are. While there have been challenges in the past as to whether or not they were illegal or unconstitutional, there has yet to be any court ruling against these devices. There are two primary reasons why this is the case.

    1. Driving isn’t a right: While many people take driving for granted, it is not considered a right. Instead, it is a privilege that has to be earned. That is why new drivers are required to take a test before they are granted the privilege of driving.


  1. Even rights can be limited after a crime is committed: Even if driving were a right — and again, it isn’t — the fact that you have committed a crime means that you are subject to the requirements of criminal justice. Consider that felons can’t vote in many states. If such an inviolate right can be suspended as part of our criminal justice system, so can your driving privileges, unless you agree to the terms set by your judge.

Do Interlock Devices Even Work?

Again, the answer is a pretty simple: yes. The installation of interlock devices is associated with a reduction in arrest rates for impaired driving of up to 70%. While the old adage, where there is a will there is a way, remains true for a segment of the population, the fact is that interlock devices have a proven track record of reducing the number of repeat DUI offenders.

In fact, there is even evidence that discreet breathalyzers can be rehabilitative, reducing the number of repeat offenses even once the device is removed by as much as 39%.

If you have been convicted of a DUI and find that you need to install an ignition interlock device in order to maintain your driving privileges, it might seem unfair. The fact is, however, that they are currently a legal and effective method of combating DUIs.

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