If you’re like many people charged with DUI or boating under the influence in Illinois, you’ve heard of an ignition interlock device – but what is it, and how does it work?

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device is a type of breath-alcohol test that’s attached to your car. As a driver, you’ll have to blow into the mouthpiece on the device before you can start your vehicle. If there’s over a certain amount of alcohol on your breath, you won’t be able to turn the ignition.

Who Has to Get an Ignition Interlock Device?

If you’re a first-time DUI offender, the state of Illinois requires you to get an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle if you expect driving relief (that’s when the court allows you to drive despite your conviction). In our state, as well as many others, the device has to include a camera that captures the driver’s image as he or she performs the breath test.

Not everyone is eligible for driving relief, though. Talk to your Chicago DUI lawyer about whether you can ask the judge for it in your case.

What is a Running Retest?

A running retest occurs when the ignition interlock device beeps while you’re driving. When it beeps, you must pull over in a safe place and provide a breath sample. If you don’t comply, your vehicle’s horn will honk until you do; if you submit a sample with a BAC of 0.05 or higher, your horn will honk, too. If you turn off the vehicle without providing a sample, you’ll be in violation of the conditions of having an ignition interlock device.

How Does an Ignition Interlock Device Work?

An ignition interlock device works by measuring the amount of alcohol present in your breath. It’s connected to your ignition and the horn on your vehicle. Your car won’t start if you have a certain alcohol concentration on your breath.

How Much Does it Cost to Have an Ignition Interlock Device?

While costs vary, and you’re responsible for them, an ignition interlock device is generally between $75 and $150 to install. You’ll also have to pay a monthly monitoring and calibration fee that can range between $60 and $80.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About a DUI in Chicago?

If you need to talk to a DUI attorney in Chicago, Skokie or Rolling Meadows, we may be able to help you. Call us at 847-920-4540 right now for a free case review.