As a requirement of MVD and many courts following an Arizona DUI alcohol conviction, or to be eligible for a Special Ignition Interlock Restricted Driver License (SIRDL), a person must install an Arizona MVD-approved Certified Ignition Interlock Device (IID). Arizona MVD publishes a list of approved IID providers to choose from, but consumers should research and consider their options very carefully before choosing from that list.
Recently, a client and customer of Low Cost Interlock, Inc. experienced a number of problems, first with the constantly malfunctioning device (repeated false positives, car not starting after passing, having to wait 15-20 minutes before it starts, etc.), then with extreme difficulty in contacting customer service (extremely long wait times, being passed around, dropped calls and several days with lack of contact), and lastly with excess fees. It seems my clients’ experiences mirror many others, and in fact there is a class action lawsuit filed against Low Cost on behalf of its disgruntled customers.
Also be aware some IID companies may try to upsell you additional items you may not need, such as SR-22 Insurance.
In addition there are many other practical considerations. If you travel regularly you should choose an IID provider which has multiple locations, and there are now a few IID companies with a national presence. I have seen situations where a person got stranded due to problems with the device and then had to tow the vehicle back to the local provider. Similarly, if you anticipate moving to another state while under the interlock order check to make sure your IID company has a location near where you are moving. It may even be necessary to switch IID providers prior to your moving out-of-state, which must be done in accordance with strict procedures mandated by ADOT and/or the IID company in order to avoid problems.
You should also choose an IID provider that does not make it difficult or costly to get IID compliance records from them. Many courts require records of routine IID maintenance, and some courts require detailed records of every pass/fail.
If you are licensed by a state other than Arizona, you should check with the licensing state’s MVD to see if that state has taken any action against your Arizona driver license or privilege to drive as a result of the DUI conviction, and find out what will satisfy the Arizona MVD’s IID requirement in your state. Also be aware some interlock companies, such as Intoxalock, can or will only provide IID compliance information to one state at a time.
For the Arizona MVD, the legal requirement that you install the IID device depends on the associated DUI suspension. If the DUI suspension for the case is completed and the license or driving privilege reinstated the IID order is effective immediately after conviction and proof of installation must be provided to the MVD within thirty (30) days, or the license will be suspended until such proof is provided to MVD and any eligibility for the six-month IID deferment (see below) is lost, meaning you must have the IID on your vehicle for a full twelve (12) months. Otherwise, the IID requirement begins at the end of the suspension period of your Arizona driver license or privilege to drive and you should not install the IID until just before the end of your suspension because the MVD will not give you credit for the time you have installed the IID prior to the end of the suspension period and/or until you reinstate and pay the license reinstatement fee(s).
The Arizona IID order is for one year; however, in certain circumstances once you have completed alcohol counseling and if you have complied with all other MVD requirements, such as installing the IID when required and completing the screening/counseling, you may be eligible to have the IID removed after 6 months of usage. If you are eligible, shortly after the 6-month time period has run the MVD should mail you a letter stating you can have it removed, however, in practice this letter is rarely received when due. Check your AZ MVD Now account or call MVD at (602) 255-0072 to confirm that you may have it removed, and never remove the IID without first having verified your eligibility with MVD.
Being caught driving without a required IID can have serious consequences. It is a class one misdemeanor to drive any vehicle without a required IID installed. The only exception to this requirement is a real emergency. It is not permitted to drive a vehicle without a required IID installed for work purposes. Police officers are required to impound vehicles driven by persons without a required IID, and the vehicle can be held in impound for 30 days. The maximum possible sentence is 6 months in jail, 3 years of summary probation and fines in the amount of $2500 plus applicable surcharges. If someone is found guilty of that offense the MVD will extend the time for which an IID is required for an additional 12 months; this means for those otherwise eligible for a 6-month deferment from the original 12-month order, a conviction for driving without the IID means they are no longer eligible for that deferment and so will have the IID requirement for the full 12 months plus an additional 12 months, for the conviction for driving without the required IID.
I recommend you keep the receipts for the monthly IID calibrations in your vehicle. If you are stopped by a police officer who believes there is a problem with your license due to the IID, you can show them your receipts as proof of compliance.
I also recommend you regularly check your AZ MVD Now account to see if there are any suspension or non-compliance notices which you did not receive by mail. As mentioned above, if you are driving while suspended for interlock your vehicle can be impounded and you can be booked into jail.
If you receive any IID extension orders from the MVD and a request for a hearing to contest the order is not filed within 15 days, the extension order will go into effect even if you have a valid explanation for the reason the extension order had been issued.
For more information about Arizona DUI and criminal law issues please contact Gordon Thompson who has used his experience to write a blog on topics of interest. You can also chat with Gordon about your specific questions.