Ignition Interlock Devices

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

When a person is convicted of DWI in New Hampshire, one of the penalties they face may be installation of an ignition interlock device. In some cases, an offender could be mandated to install the device in order to get their license reinstated and in other cases installation is voluntary in order to get early reinstatement.

An ignition interlock device or IID connects to a person's vehicle's dashboard. When they blow in its sensor, the device measures alcohol levels on their breath. The car will not start if the ignition interlock device senses a breath alcohol concentration greater than 0.02%. Although it is a nuisance to blow into the device and wait until you are “cleared” to start your car, it can be a great alternative to full license suspension.

New Hampshire Requirements

Currently, the state of New Hampshire's minimum requirements for an ignition interlock device must comply with performance specifications set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as published in Volume 57, No. 67 of the Federal Register (April 7, 1992). Some key criteria include:

  • An alcohol set point of 0.02 percent breath alcohol concentration.
  • It must bear the text, “WARNING! ANY ACTUAL OR ATTEMPTED TAMPERING OR CIRCUMVENTION OF THIS DEVICE CAN SUBJECT YOU TO CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LIABILITY.”
  • It must have a data recording system that meets all specified criteria.
  • It must have the ability to create reports on data.

New Hampshire IID Laws

RSA 265-A:36 states that any driver who is convicted of the following offenses in New Hampshire will be sentenced to the installation of an IID as a term of license reinstatement. This only applies to drivers who have also been sentence to license suspension or revocation.

  • Aggravated DWI
  • DWI with one or more previous conviction
  • DWI with a prior out-of-state conviction
  • Juvenile DWI

In addition, a driver who is arrested for driving with a license that was suspended or revoked due to a DWI conviction will be sentenced to use an IID device for the remainder of their suspension or revocation period in order to make sure that they do not drive again while impaired. They will also be required to keep the device installed for an additional 12 months to two years after reinstatement.

Terms of NH Ignition Interlock Use

Under the IID law, a driver must install a device in every vehicle that they use on a regular basis. The device must stay installed for one to two years. Juvenile DWI offenders will have to install the device and use it for either 12 months or until they turn 21; whichever is longer. This means that a 17 year old who is convicted for DWI will have to install and use an IID device every time they drive for the next four years!

If you are sentenced to install an IID and your vehicle cannot safety be installed with a device, the court may require a restraining device be installed instead so that you cannot operate the vehicle at all. This is common for motorcycles, because IIDs can often not be installed in them.

The costs of installing and monitoring the devices will have to be paid for by the offender. These devices require regular maintenance. In fact, New Hampshire law RSA 265-A:36 requires that the IID provider perform the following tasks in order to maintain the device:

  • Recalibrate each device within one month of installing it and continue to recalibrate each device every 60 days or every 180 days depending on the type of device installed
  • Provide reports to the courts of the data logged by the device and keep all data for at least 3 years after the IID use period has expired
  • Provide certificates of installation
Penalties Violating IID Laws in New Hampshire

The Department of Safety established rules for ignition interlock devices in order to ensure that they are safe for driers to use and requires each device to be approved. Under RSA 265-A:36, it is illegal to sell or distribute an unapproved IID in New Hampshire. Under RSA 265-A:37, an offender must abide by these conditions while using the IID:

  • The offender will not operate a vehicle that is not installed with an ignition interlock device
  • No person shall not tamper with or attempt to remove an IID device for any reason
  • The offender shall not operate a vehicle that they know has a device installed that has been tampered with
  • No person shall provide a breath sample for a driver who uses an IID
  • The offender shall not ask another person to provide a breath sample for their ignition interlock system
  • No person shall provide a vehicle not equipped with an IID to a person they know requires the use of the device in order to drive legally

Some of these offenses can be committed the offender only and other apply to everyone. Regardless, any these offenses will result in the following:

  • Class A misdemeanor charges
  • A minimum fine of $500
  • Two additional year of ignition interlock use (for IID users only)

If an offender is found guilty of attempting to start the engine of their vehicle installed with an IID with an alcohol concentration of 0.02% or more, they will face:

  • One additional year of ignition interlock use for each occurrence

In order to get your license returned, you will have to install IIDs in every vehicle that you use on a regular basis. You will then have to submit a certificate proving installation to the DMV. Your DWI attorney will be able to assist you in this process, if needed.

If you have been arrested for DWI in New Hampshire and are looking for experienced legal representation, call Attorney Russman right now.