Minnesota's Ignition Interlock Program

Minnesota’s Ignition Interlock Device Program allows qualifying individuals convicted of DWI to retain full driving privileges, rather than surrendering their license. For those who truly need to continue driving after a DWI conviction, this is a great option. As long as drivers with an interlock remain sober, they will be able to drive normally.

Eligibility for the interlock program is extended to DWI offenders with multiple convictions and those whose blood alcohol content was over .16 during their first DWI. (Minnesota recently amended its DWI laws to make .16 the level at which a DWI is aggravated to a more serious offense).

How Does an Interlock Work?

The interlock device is installed by automotive professionals. It is wired to the car’s engine and is controlled by a mouthpiece at the steering wheel. The mouthpiece determines blood alcohol content, and the driver must blow into it successfully before the engine can be started. In order to prevent a drunk driver’s car from being started by a sober friend, the interlock’s in Minnesota continually sample the air in the car, checking the alcohol content. This way, if anyone in the car is over the legal limit to drive, it will be recorded and reported during a monthly service check at the Department of Public Safety.

Qualifying Vehicles

The interlock is versatile and can be installed on any vehicle. The only exceptions are rental automobiles, RVs and motorized scooters or motorcycles. However, as long as the car, truck or van in question meets these qualifications and requires a Class D drivers license to operate, an interlock system can be installed.

How to Enroll

If you meet the initial qualifications outlined above, there are still several steps that must be completed before you can join Minnesota’s interlock driving program:

1. You need to prove that the vehicle being considered has valid insurance
2. Successfully complete a state administered DWI test
3. Apply for a restricted driving license
4. Pay $680 to have the your driving privileges reinstated
5. Complete all other required documents from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety
6. Make an appointment at an approved automotive center to install the interlock

How Long Will Driving be Restricted?

The amount of time you will be required to use the interlock depends on several factors: the blood alcohol content at your arrest, your driving record and the number of previous DWI convictions. Additionally, if you happen to receive a violation while signed up for the program, the length of time you have the interlock will be increased.

Whether ignition interlock is the right solution for you is a complex questions. In many circumstances, a Minnesota DWI attorney can help you understand other options available that are more appropriate for your situation.