Ignition Interlock Systems Help Sanctioning for DUI
One way to insure that ignition interlock devices work flawlessly is to use them in concert with other DUI sanctions. The device does not have to be the only punishment handed down to a DUI offender. In fact, many states suspend the offender’s license, only to allow a hardship license to get to and from work or other necessary travel. These hardship licenses can be monitored if in addition, the offender were to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. Another option is to make an ignition interlock device a condition for obtaining a hardship license. The two could go hand and hand, therefore allowing the offender to continue driving, but with the assurance that he or she won’t drive drunk. Texas, for example, requires that a DUI offender install an ignition interlock device before allowing him or her to have a conditional or hardship license.
In some states, judges routinely order ignition interlocks as a condition of probation. But many judges are reluctant to do this because DUI offenders don’t always follow the court order to install the device. Judges, however, do have the authority to impose further sanctions if the DUI offender fails to comply with the court ordered ignition interlock device. As long as there is follow-up by the court, it can be required that the offender follow the court order. Once installed, close monitoring is crucial to keep the system working.
In countries outside the U.S., like Sweden for example, ignition interlock devices are offered as an alternative to a license suspension. In addition to having the system installed in their car, the offenders must also have medical assessment to watch for alcohol abuse. Offenders must show that they are living a sober lifestyle for a year.
Installing an ignition interlock device in addition to other sanctions is one way to have more successful rehabilitation for DUI offenders. Ignition interlock devices can work hand and hand with other punishments such as DUI classes, probation, and community service.
Ignition interlock systems help DUI sanctioning by forcing the participants to stay sober when they are behind the wheel. Whether sentencing a first time offender or a habitual drinker, as long as the devices are properly monitored and maintained, they can prevent recidivism. This can eliminate the need for license suspensions, which has a negative effect on the DUI offender’s family. Now the offender can still take their kids to school or church, but will not be at risk of violating probation or ending up back in the courtroom for DUI.