My Ignition Interlock Device Broke. What Do I Do?

My Ignition Interlock Device Broke. What Do I Do? Here in Texas, we have pretty strict laws about drinking and driving. A conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI) can result in jail time, fines, and an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your vehicle. These devices, similar to breathalyzers, are installed and wired to your car and prevent it from starting if you have been drinking alcohol.

The state IID law takes elements from the Texas Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, and Transportation Code to form a robust program:

In Texas, DWI offenders must install an IID as a condition of bond and/or probation if he or she meets certain criteria. Currently, Texas law requires an IID be ordered as a condition of bond for all second and subsequent offenders. In addition, Texas law mandates an IID be installed as a condition of probation for: all second and subsequent offenders, first offenders with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher, and first offenders under the age of 21.

If you’re ordered to use an IID, you must use a state-approved manufacturer and you are required to pay all related fees yourself. (In rare instances the court can waive this fee.) This typically includes any damages to the device. Keep reading to find out more about how IIDs work and what you should do in the event yours is damaged or destroyed.

What is an ignition interlock device?

IIDs are commonly used as a condition of probation or parole for individuals who have been convicted of drunk driving. They might also be a requirement for individuals who have had their driver’s license suspended or revoked for DWI.

An ignition interlock device (IID) is a device that is installed in a vehicle’s ignition system. It requires the driver to blow into a handheld breathalyzer before the vehicle can be started. If the device detects alcohol on the driver’s breath, the vehicle will not start.

IIDs often require the motorist to re-test, even while they are driving. In the event the user blows above the limit, understand that your vehicle won’t just immediately stop on the highway or street. Instead, depending on the device you’re using, the vehicle’s horn will begin honking or its lights will start flashing until you pull over. Once you do, the car will not be able to restart.

What do I do if my IID stops working or is damaged?

Ignition interlock devices in general are tough machines and not easy to tamper with or damage. However, unexpected things do happen – you might be involved in a car wreck, have your car stolen, or your IID might experience water damage from a bad storm or flood. You are likely responsible for the cost of replacing the device. However, many manufacturers offer IID protection plans (kind of like insurance) so you will not have to pay expenses out-of-pocket in the event your device is damaged or destroyed.

Important note: If the manufacturer determines the IID was damaged because you or someone else attempted to bypass or tamper with the device, they will not cover the cost of a replacement under any circumstances. We can’t stress enough how much you shouldn’t try this.

Generally, any damage to an ignition interlock device will result in your car being unable to start. Remember, though – this does not give you permission to drive another vehicle while your IID is being repaired or replaced. If you have any questions, call your attorney for guidance.

You must report a stolen or damaged IID as soon as possible

If your vehicle and/or your ignition interlock device is stolen, file a report with the police immediately. Your very next step should be contacting the Texas Department of Public Safety and your attorney to ensure you don’t violate any terms of your DWI probation.

For replacement or maintenance issues, you can contact your IID company:

·       A&A Product Company

·       Alcohol Analytics Systems

·       Alcohol Countermeasures Systems

·       Alcohol Detection Systems

·       America’s Alcohol Testing Inc.

·       Autosense International, Inc.

·       B.E.S.T. Labs, Inc.

·       Blow and Drive Interlock

·       Clean Start Systems

·       Dräger 920 Interlock XT Interlock

·       Guardian 3060

·       Guardian Interlock

·       Instant Interlock

·       Intoxalock

·       LifeSafer

·       Low Cost Interlock

·       Monitech Ignition Interlock Systems

·       Simple Interlock Co-Pilot

·       Skyfine

·       Smart Alco Solutions LLC

·       Smart Start, Inc.


Authorized mechanics can also contact the IID company in the event they need to access the device to make repairs to your vehicle.

Again, don’t drive without a working IID. Instead. call your Killeen DWI defense lawyer first to ensure you follow the terms of your post-conviction agreement. If you’re pulled over – for anything – while driving without your IID, you can face a variety of charges, including violation of probation. This could result in jail time and fines, both for breaking your court-ordered IID driving privileges and serving time for your original DWI charge.

How do I get my ignition interlock device removed?

Once you have satisfied the terms of the IID program, you must take the following steps, per the Texas Department of Public Safety:

The ignition interlock can only be removed upon receipt of a court order with a court seal or vendor removal form signed by a judge or county clerk. To have the ignition interlock requirement removed from your driver license, submit the necessary documentation to the Department by mail, email, or fax.  Include your full name, date of birth and driver license number on all documents submitted and include a copy of your suspension notice, if available, so your driver record can be properly identified. Please allow approximately 21 business days for processing.

At Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm, our Killeen and Copperas Cove attorneys represent clients charged with DWI offenses and those with IIDs installed in their vehicles. We can help you navigate through the legal process, and work to secure the best possible outcome for your case. Our team has a long record of success in defending individuals arrested for DWI, and we’re here to help you, too. Get in touch with us today to find out what we can do for your case. Call us or fill out our contact form today to schedule a consultation. We also serve clients and families throughout Central Texas, including Coryell County, Bell County, Temple, and Belmont.