Can an Ignition Interlock Device be Required for the First Conviction of DUI in Idaho?


Yes, it is mandatory for all DUI cases now.  The requirement can be waived under exceptional circumstances.

What is an ignition interlock device?

An ignition interlock device is a system that you install in your automobile’s ignition. The device prevents the car from starting until you have blown into a mouth tube. If the machine registers any alcohol on your breath, it will continue to block the car from starting.

How many DUI does it take to get a breathalyzer in your car?

All DUIs now require an interlock device on your car. Before 2019, the state of Idaho required an ignition interlock device only for a second DUI conviction or a felony DUI conviction. Starting January 1, 2019, Idaho now requires first-time DUI offenders to equip their vehicles with an ignition interlock device.

When do I have to get the device installed on my car?

The state of Idaho requires installation of the device on your vehicle within ten days of reinstating your driver’s license once the mandatory driver’s license suspension is complete. The court may give you a restricted driving permit to drive to work or school after it suspends your license. You will not have the interlock device on your vehicle during the suspension. You will only be required to have the interlock after the driver’s license suspension is over.

How long must I have the interlock on my car?

The state of Idaho requires you to keep the interlock on your car for one year following the driver’s license suspension. Even if you have been driving on a restricted work permit granted by the court, it will still be a full year from the day your license is reinstated before you can drive without an interlock device again.

How do I get an interlock device installed on my car?

There are several providers in Idaho that provide interlock devices. The Idaho Department of Transportation has a list of providers on its website.

How much does an interlock device cost in Idaho?

According to this 2018 article from the Idaho Statesman, costs of interlock devices can cost between $50-$100 for installation, and the use of the machine is between $50 to $175 per month.  The total cost for a year of use can be between $1,000 and $2,250 per year.

Here is a list of the court approved Ignition Interlock Providers in Idaho.

Are there any exceptions to having an interlock device installed on my car after a first DUI conviction?

The court can grant an exception to the interlock requirement. Idaho Code 18-8002(12) states:

Upon motion of the person required to install an ignition interlock device pursuant to subsection (4)(b) of this section, a court in its discretion may relieve the person from the installation of the device where the court finds it clear and convincing that the person will not present a danger to the public or that there are exceptional or mitigating circumstances demonstrating that installation of the device is unnecessary or unwarranted. Financial hardship, standing alone, is not an exceptional or mitigating circumstance.

Idaho Code 18-8002(12)

How the Courts are handling this exception varies. However, it is clear that the burden of proof on the person petitioning for an exception is high. The standard of proof is “clear and convincing.” Also, the requirement for an exception is a showing of “exceptional or mitigating circumstances.” Exceptional usually means “out of the ordinary,” something that sets you apart from the typical DUI case. Finally, it is important to note that the rule specifically states that simply telling the judge you can’t afford it is not going to be enough.

To improve your chances of a court granting this request, you should consider retaining an attorney to assist you in the matter.

How long after drinking does it take to pass an ignition interlock device?

Studies show that alcohol leaves the body at an average rate of .015g/100mL/hour.  So, if you are at a .15 BAC level, in five hours your BAC will be halved to approximately .075, just barely under the legal limit.