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DWI Ignition Interlock Laws in MN

MN Ignition Interlock Device Information

An ignition interlock device is a breath analyzer that is wired into a vehicle’s starting system, preventing the vehicle from starting if the driver has consumed a specific amount of alcohol. It is the size of a smartphone and is connected to the vehicle by a cord that is hidden under the dashboard.

The device records data on the breath test, which includes how often the vehicle moves and a number of miles driven. According to Minnesota’s ignition interlock program, first-time offenders with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .16% or higher and repeat offenders are required to participate in the program in order to drive legally in the state.

Administrative License Revocation Procedures

It is imperative to understand that Minnesota is one of 42 states which implements Administrative License Revocation (ALR) procedures, meaning that your driver’s license will be confiscated immediately if your BAC is above .08%, or if you refuse a breath test. Although you have not been convicted in a criminal court, your license will either be suspended or revoked automatically.

You are given a 7-day grace period to operate your vehicle under a temporary driving permit issued by the police on the scene. During that time, you are eligible to request a hearing to challenge the case. However, if you do not request a hearing, your license will be automatically suspended on the 8th day for 90 days.

Minnesota allows you to install an ignition interlock device in lieu of suspension time after 15 days have passed.

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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 for IID

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 in IID Program

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.

Discuss your options with our Minnesota lawyer today!

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