If you have been issued a court-ordered ignition interlock device, one of the most common questions that comes up is what happens if you fail an interlock test. There are a number of things that can cause someone to violate their ignition interlock device. The most common way is drinking alcohol in excessive amounts beyond the level determined by your state. Doing so and then blowing into your ignition interlock device will ensure an automatic failure and a violation will be recorded. In this scenario, your vehicle’s engine will not start, preventing you from driving.

It is always recommended to keep a bottle of water in the car with you. Before each test, make sure to rinse your mouth out thoroughly, because some foods heavy in yeast and any liquids containing alcohol, like mouthwash, will cause an instant violation.

Another common scenario is missing a running re-test of your device. Re-tests happen when you are already driving your vehicle and are asked to blow into your ignition interlock device again. If you ignore this request, the device submits a report of a missed test to your monitoring authority. In some states, it is also required for your lights and horns to go off if you miss a re-test.

Once the re-test is missed and you turn your car off, it likely won’t start again. Some monitoring companies offer the option of buying lockout codes, which are codes you purchase that essentially buy you additional time, allowing you to drive to your interlock provider’s service center, where further steps will be required to get your device back in working order. One provider even lets you do the whole process through their app, eliminating having to call and talk to an agent or wait on hold.  Not every provider offers these codes, though. In some cases your vehicle will just have to be towed to a service location. Neither are inexpensive solutions, to say the least.

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Any tampering with or attempts to bypass or disable your ignition interlock device will also result in an immediate violation and will prevent your vehicle from starting. And like a re-test fail, depending on your monitoring company, you’ll either have to buy a lockout code or have your vehicle towed.

Lastly, a mechanical issue with your ignition interlock device may cause your device to malfunction and show a failing interlock test. In this case, you will need to file an incident report with your interlock provider, detailing what happened when your device issued the failure to test. If everything checks out and is proven that you were not at fault, this will remove any responsibility on your part and no violation will be submitted to your monitoring authority.

Now that you are more familiar with how ignition interlock devices work and what can cause you to fail an interlock test, we’d like to help you find the right provider. Visit our Get a Quote page and complete our fast five minute form to get started, which will provide you with the top ignition interlock providers available in your area.