Ignition Interlock Devices: A Guide for Oregon Drivers

A Brief DUII Review

As I’ve written about previously, DUII is what’s known as a counting crime. In simple terms, that means the punishments increase with each offense. For example, in Oregon, a first DUII conviction can be kept off of your record with successful completion of a diversion program. Subsequent convictions will include increasingly harsh punishments including jail time, larger fines, and longer license suspensions.

In addition, if you’re convicted of DUII or enter into a diversion program, you’ll be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in any vehicle you drive.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An Ignition Interlock Device, also known as an IID, is a device that is installed in a vehicle to prevent a non-sober driver from operating the vehicle. When an Ignition Interlock Device is installed, the driver of the car must blow into a mouthpiece. If alcohol is detected, the device logs the failure and prevents the vehicle from starting.

In addition, in order to maintain compliance, a diversion program may require a urinalysis test to be completed within 30 minutes of failing a breath test on an IID.

How Do Ignition Interlock Devices Work?

An IID measures a person’s BAC and keeps the car from starting if it’s above a preset level. In addition, some devices perform “running tests” or “rolling tests” which randomly require drivers to prove their sobriety while driving. An IID keeps a record of all tests, including the BAC recorded.

IID Requirements in Oregon

In the state of Oregon, an IID is required for various lengths of time, depending on whether a person has been convicted of DUII before.

On a first conviction, an IID must be installed for 1-year following any license suspension or revocation resulting from the conviction. For second DUII convictions and beyond, the IID must be installed for 2 years.

When a DUII is committed in combination with another crime like assault or manslaughter, or under other specified conditions, the Ignition Interlock Device must be installed for a period of 5 years.

In the case of DUII diversion programs, an IID must be installed during the length of the diversion program.

Remember: An IID Is Required In All Vehicles

This is an important note: If you’re required to use an Ignition Interlock Device, it must be installed in ANY vehicle you drive-- not just your primary car. For all intents and purposes, this means that most people will be limited to driving a single car for the duration of the period the IID is required.

An Ignition Interlock Device Is Expensive

Installing an IID in your vehicle isn’t cheap. First, you must use an IID that has been approved by the state of Oregon, so you can’t just buy one second-hand or from a random website. Generally speaking, an IID will cost you around $150 to install and around $75 per month for monitoring and calibration. For a 1-year period, that means you’ll spend around $1000 for an Ignition Interlock Device.

In some cases, you may be eligible for financial assistance to help pay for the cost of your IID. You’ll need to prove “indigence” by way of providing a Food Stamp ID card which will entile you to a waiver of your IID costs.

IID Exemptions

There are a few cases where a person may be eligible for an exemption to the requirements for an Ignition Interlock Device.

The first case is a vehicle that is being operated for work. A person may operate a vehicle for work if:

  • Their employer has been notified

  • The employee possesses a hardship permit or the employee has a fully reinstated license

Persons who are self-employed are not eligible for this type of exemption.

The other common form of IID exemption is a medical exemption. In this case, a healthcare provider must certify that a medical condition precludes the use of an IID. If a medical exemption is granted, a person must carry their medical exemption paperwork with them whenever driving.

Vacating an Ignition Interlock Device

As you can see, Ignition Interlock Devices are serious business. While many people believe they’re inconvenient and expensive, they are an important and valuable tool that is used to ensure a person’s sobriety while driving as part of their DUII conviction or diversion program.

That said, there is a law in Oregon that allows for the IID requirement to be vacated in some very specific circumstances. This means that if you meet set requirements, you won’t need the IID for as long as the law normally dictates.

Vacating as Part of A Diversion Program

A person who is taking part in a diversion program may request their IID requirement be vacated if they have complied with the requirements of their diversion program for 6 months, can provide the court with a certificate proving that their IID has not recorded a “negative report”, and are taking part in any treatment program required by their diversion program.

What is a Negative Report?

A negative report is recorded by an Ignition Interlock Device when:

  • A person attempts to tamper with it

  • A person removes the IID without approval

  • A person is locked out of their IID or a BAC is recorded above the machine’s threshold.

How to Vacate an Ignition Interlock Device Requirement

If you believe you’re eligible to have your IID vacated, you’ll need to file a motion with the court-- as well as the district attorney or city prosecutor. It is up to the prosecutor’s discretion as to whether he or she will contest the motion.

If the motion is contested, a hearing will be held during which the court will consider a variety of factors, including BAC at the time of arrest, nature of the crime, and any other factors it considers relevant. If the court finds that you’ve complied with all the requirements, it will vacate your IID requirement. The court will then notify the Department of Transportation on your behalf.

Conclusion

If you’re a first-time DUII offender and you’ve entered into a diversion program, vacating your IID requirement may allow you to breathe a little easier and live your life with fewer restrictions. If you’d like to discuss your options and learn more about Ignition Interlock Device requirements, contact me, Adam Greenman at (503) 227-3800. Your initial consultation is confidential and free.

Photo Credits: Jes