Wisconsin Ignition Interlock Device

Wisconsin Ignition Interlock Device Law

Under Wisconsin Statute § 343.301 the court will require that you install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle as one of many OWI penalties upon conviction if any of the following apply:

  1. You improperly refused to submitted to a chemical test of your breath, blood, or urine;
  2. Your BAC was over .15; or
  3. You have a previous OWI related conviction.

An ignition interlock device, or IID, is a device that requires a sample of the operators breath prior to operation of a vehicle. That sample must be below a .02 BAC. Not only does the IID require a sufficient sample to start the vehicle, it will require random samples as the vehicle is operated. This is to prevent a sober individual from providing a sample of their breath to start the vehicle.

If you fail or abort three attempts to provide a breath sample, the ignition interlock device will enter a “Temporary Lockout” and the vehicle will not start for 15 minutes. If you fail to provide a sample while the vehicle is in motion, your vehicles horn and alarm will sound and will not turn off until you shut off the vehicle. Additionally, if you fail to provide samples under .02 your vehicle (the IID) will have to go in for a violations service.

What are the consequences of an IID order?

Being subjected to an ignition interlock device order has a few consequences. If you are subjected to the IID order, you will only be able to operate a vehicle that has an ignition interlock device installed on it.  Furthermore,the ignition interlock device must be installed on every vehicle owned or registered in your name. In many cases it does not matter if your wife, husband or kid is the primary driver of the vehicle, if it is registered under your name, the IID order applies.

Talk to an attorney to see if an exemption from an IID is available

You or your attorney may ask the court to exempt or exclude certain vehicles from the order. This is really based on whether or not installation of additional ignition interlock devices would be an undue financial hardship. If for example, your spouse is the primary driver of one of your vehicles the court may allow the spouse to avoid IID installation in their vehicle.  You will face additional penalties if you are caught driving a vehicle that has been exempted or that does not have an IID installed.

How much does an Ignition Interlock Device cost?

Not only is it an inconvenience, an IID can cost you well over $1000 depending on the amount of time of your IID order. First, the court will impose a surcharge of around $50. But that is not what gets you. You must pay to have the ignition interlock device installed, maintained, and removed. Each service costs somewhere between $60-150. Additionally you will have to pay a rental or lease fee per month. This is generally around $60-100 per month. Again, you may ask the court to reduce the cost of an IID. However, this will only happen if you fall below a certain percentage of the federal poverty level ($17,000 for a single to about $36,000 for a family of 4).

A knowledgable OWI defense attorney can help mitigate the cost of an ignition interlock device. In some cases they can assist in getting that requirement removed.

Can I choose not to get an IID installed on my vehicle?

If you are ordered by the court to have an ignition interlock device installed on one or more of your vehicles you cannot just wait it out. An IID order does not toll based on the amount of time that has passed since your conviction, it starts at the time you are licensed. For example, if you are ordered to have an IID for a period of 12 months, that 12 months starts when you obtain your license, not when you are sentenced.

You will face additional penalties if you fail to comply with the IID order. This includes fines and additional IID time. Failure to install the IID in each vehicle you own can result in a fine from a minimum of $150 up to $600. There is potential jail time of up to six months in jail for failing to comply with the order. This is at court’s discretion. A second or subsequent violation within five years will result in fines up to $1,000.

For individuals who do not own a vehicle, the restrictions still apply. You will only be able to legally drive a vehicle that has an IID installed. Additional penalties will be brought if you are caught operating a vehicle without and ignition interlock device when the restriction applies.