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What is an ignition interlock device and how it is used?

South Carolina has some strict laws against drunk driving. The tiered system increases the penalties with each subsequent conviction. These include time in jail, fines, community service, alcohol treatment programs, ignition interlock device installation and several other options.

It is up to the court to decide what is appropriate for a person who's convicted, but there are minimums that apply to most convictions. There are also penalties for refusing to take a chemical test if one is requested.

What is the role of the ignition interlock device?

The ignition interlock device is meant to ensure that a person who has been convicted of drunk driving doesn't commit the crime again. Before the vehicle is started, a breath sample is required. It is tested immediately for the presence of alcohol. If any is noted, the vehicle won't start. These devices also require periodic samples while the vehicle is being driven.

When a sample is needed while a person is driving, they must pull over within a specific amount of time and provide that sample. The results of all samples are recorded so that they can be provided to the court.

A person who is ordered to have an ignition interlock device can only drive a vehicle with one installed. This means that people who drive company vehicles won't be able to drive unless the company has one installed. Of course, they might not be able to drive anyway once the drunk driving conviction is on their driving record.

When is an ignition interlock device used?

A person who has a first drunk driving conviction might opt for an ignition interlock device instead of a driver's license suspension. The time with the device will last as long as the suspension would have. On a second drunk driving conviction, the ignition interlock is ordered by the court and will remain for two years. On a third drunk driving conviction, the ignition interlock is a minimum of three to four years, depending on how many convictions have occurred within the previous five-year period.

When the court orders the ignition interlock device, any vehicles that are owned by the defendant will have to be immobilized if they don't have an ignition interlock device. The registration and license plate are surrendered for the duration of the term with the device.

If you are facing a drunk driving charge, you need to review the options that you have for your defense. This can help you to set your strategy for answering the charge.

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