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Will your BAC trigger ignition interlock installation?

If law enforcement arrests you for operating while intoxicated in the state of Wisconsin, you face some harsh penalties, including fines, license suspension and possible jail time.

In addition, even if this is your first offense, you may be ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.

The IID explained

An ignition interlock device is essentially a computer about the size of a mobile phone with a mouthpiece attached. The device connects to the engine wiring in your vehicle. To drive, you must first blow into the mouthpiece. The IID will go to work analyzing your blood alcohol content level. If you pass the test, the car will start. Keep in mind that there will be periodic retests as you drive to ensure you are still sober.

Who requires an IID

In Wisconsin, a repeat OWI offender must have an IID installed in any vehicle registered in his or her name. A first offender must also have the IID installed if testing shows a BAC level of .15% or above. In addition, anyone who refuses to take a blood or breath test automatically earns installation of an ignition interlock device.

A way to get around

If an officer arrests you on suspicion of OWI, explore your legal options promptly. Loss of your driving privileges will obviously be problematic. How are you going to get to work, or to your college classes? You may qualify for a restricted license, known as an occupational license here in Wisconsin. With this, you could get back behind the wheel for DMV-approved reasons. For example, during certain times of day according to the agreed-upon schedule, you could drive to work, to class, to church and to other destinations as listed on your license. However, if ordered to have an ignition interlock device, there will be no restrictions on where you go or when. Sobriety will be the only requirement along with periodic maintenance to keep your IID in good working order.

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