Tampering with an Ignition Interlock Device in Georgia
In Georgia, more people are being asked to install ignition devices on their vehicle. As a result of the new law change of July 1, 2017, many people are choosing to install ignition interlock devices than ever before. It is no surprise that if you search YouTube for instructions for removing or disabling ignition interlock devices, you find hundreds of resources. From videos demonstrating how to do it - to step by step instructions, there are numerous ways to help people tamper or remove an Ignition Interlock Device (IID). However, tampering with the interlock device is not a good idea, and it carries severe penalties in Georgia. You could lose your restricted license or increase the time you are required to have it installed on your vehicle. If you or a loved one have been charged with tampering with an IID, contact our office today. Our Georgia DUI Attorneys have unparalleled experience in DUI defense and can advise you on the best options for your case.
Georgia Code O.C.G.A. §42-8-118
O.C.G.A. §42-8-118 outlines three ways in which a person can be convicted of tampering with an ignition interlock device:
a) It is unlawful for any person whose driving privilege is restricted pursuant to subsection (a) of Code Section 42-8-111 to request or solicit any other person to blow into an ignition interlock device or to start a motor vehicle equipped with the device for the purpose of providing the person so restricted with an operable motor vehicle.
(b) It is unlawful for any person to blow into an ignition interlock device or to start a motor vehicle equipped with the device for the purpose of providing an operable motor vehicle to a person whose driving privilege is restricted pursuant to subsection (a) of Code Section 42-8-111.
(c) It is unlawful to tamper with, or circumvent the operation of, an ignition interlock device.
How Ignition Interlock Devices Operate
Ignition interlock devices are Breathalyzers that are connected to the ignition of the motor vehicle. The driver must blow into the device before he or she can start the car. If any alcohol is detected, the car will not start. While former versions of the IID only required a sample before the car would start, it was easy for drivers to have a sober friend blow into the device in order to drive. However, the newer models force the driver to blow while driving and some have cameras for this very reason. If there is a positive alcohol reading at any time, the device logs the reading, and it is reported to the driver's probation officer. Typically every 30, 60, or 90 days, the records from the device are reviewed by the probation officer. Even though the legal limit is .08, you are not allowed to consume any alcohol whatsoever while using an ignition interlock device. Again, any amount of alcohol detected will be considered a probation violation, and you will face serious repercussions.
Is it Possible for the Device to Be Wrong?
There are some situations where the ignition interlock device will report a false positive. The device is unable to tell the difference between isopropyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol. Things that contain isopropyl alcohol include mouthwash, hand sanitizers, hand wipes, and gels. Ethyl alcohol is the type found in alcoholic beverages. Therefore, if you have used mouthwash and report positive for alcohol, mouthwash may have been the reason. If you have to use an IID, it is best to avoid consuming anything for at least 20 minutes before using it.
If the device registers alcohol, but you believe it to be a false positive, you need legal representation immediately! False positives are rare, and you need the assistance of an experienced Georgia tampering with an ignition interlock device attorney to prove your innocence. Our Attorneys have over 50 combined years of DUI defense expertise and are prepared to assist with your case now.
What is the Penalty for Tampering With an Ignition Interlock Device in Georgia?
If convicted of tampering with an interlock device in Georgia, the crime will be treated as a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor convictions carry a punishment of up to one year in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, or both.
Further, it can result in a probation revocation hearing where the judge forgoes the rest of probation and requires the driver to finish their sentence in jail. Another possible outcome is that the judge can extend the amount of time the IID will be on your vehicle. Lastly, a judge may revoke your restricted license.
In sum, there are severe consequences to tampering with an IID. If you have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, the best thing you can do is to follow the rules and regulations and never attempt to drive after consuming alcohol.
While tampering with an ignition interlock device may seem like a minor thing because it is considered a misdemeanor, it comes with serious consequences. Do not take a chance on representing yourself or even pleading guilty. Contact Lawson and Berry and speak to one of our Georgia Tampering with an IID Lawyers now.