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Ignition interlock devices subject of new bill in Congress

Throughout New York as well as across other states in the country, many police checkpoints are commonly set up to seek out drunk drivers over key holiday times. The recent Fourth of July holiday weekend is no exception. Press coverage about drunk driving can make it hard to remember that many people who are arrested for driving while intoxicated are actually honest, responsible citizens. It is easier than many may realize to have a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or above. Not everyone in this situation should be looked upon as dangerous criminals.

In New York, one penalty of a DUI conviction that some drivers may face is the installation of an ignition interlock device. This two-part unit consists of a Breathalyzer unit and a computer chip and is designed to prevent people with prior DUI convictions from driving while intoxicated again. People who are ordered to install IIDs must take breath tests every time they get into their vehicles. Ignitions are locked for drivers with BAC’s over the legal limit.

A New York congresswoman is working to expand the use of IIDs around the country. Alisa’s Law will be introduced into the House of Representatives this summer. If passed, every state in the country will be required to change its laws about these devices or face serious federal government funding cuts. The law would stipulate that any driver who is convicted of drunk driving must use an ignition interlock device for a minimum of six months.

Ignition interlock devices can be very costly to drivers who must install and maintain them. Anyone who has been arrested for a suspected DUI may wish to consult with an attorney to learn the options to avoid such consequences.

Source: Hudson Valley News, “NY Congresswoman To Introduce Bill To Reduce Drunk Driving,” Allison Dunne, July 3, 2014

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