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Guide to New York Ignition Interlock Laws

New York law requires ignition interlock devices (IIDs) after convictions for driving while intoxicated (DWI). The laws and requirements related to IIDs are strict, and full compliance is necessary in order to satisfy the terms of probation and get a license reinstated after a DWI. Here is a closer look at New York IID laws for DWIs.

Minimum Term for Ignition Interlock Devices for New York DWIs

Those who are convicted of misdemeanor or felony DWIs in New York are typically required to have ignition interlock devices in their vehicles for a period of 12 months. This requirement applies to several types of drunk driving convictions, including:

  • First-time DWIs: A simple DWI involving a BAC of at least 0.08 can result in the need for IIDs, regardless of whether a case ends in a guilty plea, a plea deal, or a conviction by a jury.
  • Aggravated DWIs: This includes cases in which a driver had a BAC of 0.18 or more; there were children in the vehicle with the drunk driver; a DWI involved a crash; and/or other aggravating circumstances were involved.

Motorists who are required to get and maintain ignition interlock devices on their vehicles will also have an “ignition interlock” designation added to their drivers’ licenses.

Leandra’s Law

Enacted in November 2009, Leandra’s Law is one of the New York statutes that requires IIDs for DWIs. This law was established after an 11-year-old named Leandra was killed in a DWI accident when a friend’s mother was driving drunk. It sparked several updates to New York Vehicle and Traffic Laws, including making the penalties for DWIs harsher by requiring ignition interlock devices after most drunk driving convictions in the state.

IID Installation & Maintenance

After a drunk driving conviction in New York, here is what motorists need to know about installing and maintaining ignition interlock devices in their vehicles:

  • IIDs must be installed within 10 days of sentencing: This 10-day timeframe will start counting down from the sentencing date or the date a driver is released from jail if that is part of the court’s sentence. If a motorist has had his license suspended or revoked due to a DWI conviction, (s)he will have to wait out that suspension or revocation period first, before trying to reinstate a driver’s license and satisfy the court-ordered IID requirement.
  • A monitor will be assigned to the case: This can be a probation officer, someone from the District Attorney’s office, or a county official who works with one of the state’s DWI programs. This monitor can help drivers find state-approved IID installers in their area.
  • Drivers must bring specific info to the IID vendor to get the device installed: This includes case-specific details and the name and contact information of the court-appointed IID monitor.
  • IIDs must be installed on all vehicles the convicted motorist operates: It does not matter whether the driver owns the vehicles or not. If (s)he is regularly driving those vehicles, IIDs must be installed and maintained on them. This includes vehicles owned by a spouse. There are, however, exceptions for employer-owned vehicles, and an employer must provide the court with written approval for a driver to use these vehicles without an IID.

Ignition Interlock Device Costs

The cost of installing and maintaining IIDs will vary by vendor. In general, however, installation can cost around $200 (per vehicle), and monthly maintenance fees are roughly $100. It also costs about $200 to remove these devices from vehicles.

New York courts have a fee waiver option for those who financially qualify. Here is the Financial Disclosure form to apply for a fee waiver for IID costs. These waivers need to be submitted to the court ASAP, and the court will decide whether or not to grant the waiver.

Early Removal of Ignition Interlock Devices

Motorists who maintain IIDs in their vehicles without any issues, violations, or new criminal charges may be eligible for early removal. These individuals can apply for early removal after six months of maintaining IIDs on their vehicles without incident. In many cases, the courts will grant early removal requests to drivers who have complied with all terms of their IID requirement, as well as their DWI probation.

IID Removals

If a driver does not seek or obtain early removal of IIDs, the vendor that installed and has been maintaining the device will provide the motorist with a form stating that the requirement has been satisfied (at the end of the court-ordered IID term).

Drivers must then take the form to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to get a non-restricted license (i.e., get the “ignition interlock” designation removed from their driver’s license). Once that form has been submitted to the DMV and any other necessary authorities, drivers can proceed with the IID removal process.

Penalties for Violating New York Ignition Interlock Device Requirements

Drivers who violate court orders regarding ignition interlock devices can face new penalties and possibly new criminal charges. There are various ways in which IID requirements can be violated by motorists:

  1. Driving vehicles without an IID: Trying to get around an ignition interlock device requirement by borrowing a vehicle that does not have one of these devices can result in Class A misdemeanor charges. These can be punishable by up to 1 year in jail.
  2. Providing breath samples with alcohol: IIDs are incredibly If they detect any trace of alcohol on a motorist’s breath, the device will prevent a vehicle from starting, or it will require another breath sample within 1 to 3 minutes if the vehicle is in motion. Another detection of alcohol can result in IIDs going into “lockout” mode, which requires vendor service (usually within 5 days). Depending on the situation, this type of violation can be met with an extension of the 12-month IID requirement. It could even bring other charges and new penalties.
  3. Tampering with the device: Trying to bypass, disconnect, or remove an IID will be reported to both the vendor and the court-appointed monitor. Depending on the circumstances, drivers could have their IID requirements extended, or their driving privileges may be suspended or revoked for some period of time.
  4. Failing to pay IID maintenance costs: This can result in the device being deactivated by a vendor and a notification being sent to the monitor or probation officer on the case. Typically, drivers will need to pay the outstanding fees in full to get their IIDs reactivated so they can satisfy this court-ordered penalty. If financial circumstances have changed and motorists need a fee waiver, they should apply for the waiver via the courts, explaining the change in their situation (e.g., job loss) that makes them financially eligible for the waiver.

Clearly, the requirements associated with ignition interlock devices for DWIs in New York are complex. As important as it is for drivers to understand and comply with all of these requirements, it’s also crucial to have a strong defense case from the get-go to minimize the chances of conviction and the IID penalty in the first place.

Charged with DWI in Westchester County? Mamaroneck DWI Lawyer Michael J. Borrelli Will Fight for You

Drunk driving charges in New York are serious. The penalties can be too. For the accused, there may only be one chance to fight DWI charges, assert their rights, and seek a just outcome. When that time comes, it’s crucial to have Mamaroneck DWI Lawyer Michael J. Borrelli on your side.

With 25 years of experience, including 14 years as a DWI supervisor in Westchester County, NY, Attorney Borrelli has deep knowledge of the law and established relationships with the local courts and prosecutors. That can make a major difference in the strength and success of your defense case when it’s time to dispute the charges and fight for the best possible outcomes.

Call (914) 825-8620 or contact us online for a FREE, confidential DWI defense consultation 24/7.

The sooner you have DWI Attorney Borrelli in your corner, the sooner he can start helping you with all aspects of your DWI case, from dealing with police to representing you in court hearings, reinvestigating your case, and working diligently to craft the strongest possible defense.

Beyond his credentials, Attorney Borrelli is committed to helping people just like you. He is proud to provide responsive, client-focused service, so you are never confused or under pressure when it’s time to go to court. That can give you confidence that you have the representation you need and deserve—and that your case is set up for the best possible resolution.

Get answers about your best DWI defense options in a FREE consultation. A call or a click can be the first step towards building a better defense and positioning your case for the best outcome possible.


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