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What you need to know about ignition interlock conditions

While every driver knows they should not drive while intoxicated or impaired by drugs, the fact is that people make mistakes. When these mistakes happen, drivers should understand what is at stake and why it is crucial to defend against the charges.

For instance, a drunk driving charge can result in several penalties. Having an ignition interlock condition is one such penalty.

When are drivers subject to ignition interlock condition?

Under some circumstances, a person convicted of drunk driving will have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles to drive legally after a suspension, per Ontario’s Ignition Interlock Program. 

Some drivers can choose to participate in the program to reduce their driving suspension period. Eligible parties can include first- and second-time offenders, drivers who were not convicted of causing death or bodily harm, and drivers who were not impaired by drugs.

Other drivers must have the device installed to get their licence reinstated. These drivers include parties with at least three suspensions in 10 years who are also novice drivers or commercial drivers, motorists who do not comply with testing demands, and drivers impaired by a combination of drugs and alcohol.

What the program entails

Participants in the program must have the device installed by an approved service provider. You are responsible for installation fees and the cost of maintenance. On average, the monthly expense is around $125. 

Once the device is in place, drivers will need to blow into it to start the car. If it registers a blood alcohol level above the set limit, the vehicle will not start. 

It may also prompt you to blow into it while you are driving, called a rolling re-test. If you do not provide a sample or your sample is too high, the device will trigger alarm systems in the car, including honking the horn and flashing the lights.

The device records failed or missed tests. Violations can result in extended suspension periods or removal from the program. 

Getting the facts about ignition interlock

Whether you want to reduce driving suspensions by participating in the program or you must participate to drive again, you must understand what it will mean for you. 

It is also essential to know that there may be ways to avoid this condition altogether by defending against drunk driving charges to avoid conviction. 

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