Ignition interlock devices have been used in Texas for some time now, but only for drivers who were convicted of DWI with a blood-alcohol concentration of .15 percent or higher. The devices work by locking your ignition if any trace of alcohol is detected on your breath.
Now a new law, which goes into effect Sept. 1, provides the interlock option to drivers convicted of DWI with a BAC less than .15 percent. Previously, if your BAC was above .08 but below .15, then your license would be suspended unless a judge granted you an occupational license.
The change will allow drivers to avoid a license suspension.
In effect, the new law gives you the option of keeping your driving privileges if your BAC was higher than .08 percent, and if you pay the necessary fees to have an ignition interlock device installed on each of your vehicles.
In addition to heavy fines, possible jail time and a criminal record, suspension of your license is a costly penalty for drunk driving. Unless you have public transportation in your area, you could have major difficulties in doing routine activities like getting to work, running errands and taking your kids to school.
Lawmakers hope that expanding the interlock option will reduce the number of drivers who get behind the wheel despite having their licenses suspended.
Charged with DWI? A conviction is not automatic, and you should contact a defense lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights.
Getting an ignition interlock device does not happen automatically when you've been charged with drunk driving. There are legal steps and deadlines. Nor is a conviction automatic. You have a right to mount a DWI defense and hold law enforcement accountable.
For more on developing a strong and effective defense, please see Nix | Poet's DWI defense overview.