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Primer: What is that Florida ignition interlock penalty all about?

As we noted in a recent blog post, the penalties associated with a drunk driving conviction in Florida can be many and exacting (please see our October 22 entry for a description of what we called therein "the outsized repercussions that often stem from a DUI charge").

One potential post-conviction imposition on a convicted drunk driver is the mandated installation of a so-called "ignition interlock device." Commonly referred to as an IID, this device will come into play for select drivers based on a determination of their past driving record and current offense.

In other words, although hypothetical "Driver A" might not be required to install an IID in his or her vehicle (actually, all the vehicles driven), "Driver B" could well be tasked to comply with such a demand.

A website page on IID requirements authored by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles spells out the essential details regarding IID installation.

Of immediate note is that a judge has ample discretion in deciding whether to impose an IID requirement on a first offender -- in most instances. If a first conviction relates to a drunk driving arrest for a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 or above, there is no judicial discretion; an offender must have an IID installed for at least six months.

Penalties increase for comparatively severe offenses. A second DUI conviction brings a minimum one-year IID requirement. Four or more convictions will have a driver dealing with an interlock for a long, long time -- at least five years.

And drivers should note this fact about IID installation: The IID program is funded by convicted offenders. That virtually ensures a hefty price tag in every instance were installation is ordered.

As we have noted in many prior posts, a negative outcome is not always inevitable following a police stop pursuant to an officer's suspicion that a motorist was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

There are often many facets of a DUI stop that are reasonably open to close scrutiny by a proven drunk driving defense attorney. A motorist who contacts an experienced DUI lawyer without delay following a DUI arrest can help ensure that those avenues are fully investigated.

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