Here at our Phoenix law firm, we often represent victims of DUI collisions; people who through no fault of their own are injured by the selfishness of others who are driving drunk or high on other drugs. This happens all too frequenly.
On September 19, 2007, Arizona began requiring the placement of ignition interlock devices (IID) in the vehicles of any driver convicted of Driving-Under-the Influence (DUI) – including first-time offenders. This includes offenders using alcohol, non-prescription drugs, and/or a vapor-releasing device containing a toxic substance or any combination of the three. If the driver is impaired to the slightest degree, he/she will be required to breath into an ignition interlock device before the vehicle will start for 1 year, to be extended if there is any sign of non-compliance or tampering with the device.
When an ignition interlock device is mandated, the offender must pay for a Special Ignition Interlock Restricted Driver License and the installation and monthly maintenance fees for the ignition interlock device. The offender is also restricted to the places he or she may drive: to work, to school, to alcohol treatment programs, to approved medical appointments and to IID maintenance appointments.
In order to obtain the Special Ignition Interlock Restricted Driver license, the offender has to submit the following:
- Certified validation of ignition interlock installation;
- Certification of completion of alcohol and/or drug education or treatment; and
- Certification of high risk (SR-22) auto insurance.
In Arizona, DUI is a serious offense that carries with it a bundle of sanctions that can be costly for offenders: surcharges, undergoing alcohol screening, attending Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Panel meetings, and, in some cases, supervised probation. Indeed, for first-time offenders, the aggregate financial penalty can exceed $4,000.
The hope of deterring drivers from driving impaired and/or curtailing recidivism via the threat of having an ignition interlock device on their vehicle has been somewhat disappointing because statistics indicate significant reductions while the device is on the vehicle but no significant reductions after the device is removed. Driving-Under-the-Influence is a pernicious problem that has costs our nation dearly. Arizona and national authorities continue to search for the solution to the problem.