Ignition Interlock in Oklahoma DUI Sentencing

Most states require the installation of an ignition interlock device on vehicles owned by repeat DUI offenders.  In Oklahoma, recent legislation that took effect November 1, 2011, made ignition interlock a sentencing requirement in all Oklahoma DUI convictions--even DUI as a first offense.

Under the new DUI law, those convicted of DUI in Oklahoma are required to install an ignition interlock device on any vehicles they own.  Additionally, once these drivers' license suspensions are complete, they are required to obtain a special driver's license that clearly states "Interlock Required."  

These licenses signal officers that a driver is not legally permitted to drive any vehicle without the interlock device installed and helps prevent DUI offenders from circumventing the law by driving another's vehicle.

What is ignition interlock?

Essentially, the ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer machine that prohibits a vehicle from starting if the driver's Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) meets or exceeds the set point of the device--generally 0.02 or 0.04 percent, which is lower than the legal limit of 0.08 percent for DUI in Oklahoma.  

The device is designed to prevent impaired drivers from taking the wheel after drinking.  Often, those who have been drinking underestimate their level of impairment.  With an ignition interlock device installed, there is little room for error.  Ignition interlock devices are often equipped with a camera so an impaired driver may not get another person with "clean" breath to blow into the device to start the car.

Who is responsible for oversight of ignition interlock in Oklahoma?

The ignition interlock industry in Oklahoma is regulated by the states Board of Tests for Alcohol and Drug Influence (BOT).  The BOT certifies ignition interlock devices annually, and they publish a list of approved devices.  The BOT further licenses ignition interlock service centers and approves and licenses ignition interlock technicians.  

Ignition interlock is installed at the expense of the convicted driver.  Once the device is installed, the licensed ignition interlock technician provides the driver with verification of the device installation and remits the appropriate fee to the BOT. Ignition interlock rental fees are approximately $70-$100 per month, and installation is approximately $100.  

Tampering with an ignition interlock device or attempting to disarm or disable the device is a crime punishable by a fine of $500 and up to six months in jail. If a vehicle owner knowingly allows a driver with an "Interlock Required" license to drive a vehicle without the device, he or she may be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500 and up to six months in jail.

The installation of an ignition interlock device is a requirement only after the completion of a driver's license suspension. Once the suspension period is up, the Oklahoma DUI offender must provide proof of installation of an ignition interlock device in order to have the license reinstated. For more information about ignition interlock and other Oklahoma DUI laws and penalties, contact us to speak with experienced DUI lawyers in Oklahoma City.

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