There are many ways to commit an OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired), Ohio’s name for a DUI offense. When a judge sentences you after an OVI conviction, the judge can order you to use an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle.

This order can be both good news and bad news. On the one hand, the judge has allowed you a way to regain your driver’s license. On the other hand, the IID will log any failed attempts at starting your car.

Here are some facts to know about how Smart Start IIDs work.

When to Get an IID

A DUI conviction can cause many disruptions in your life, but the greatest inconvenience might be the driver’s license suspension. Ohio law requires the judge to suspend your license for one to three years upon conviction.

But the law also allows the judge to reduce that sentence if you agree to install an IID. This reduction can come either on the judge’s initiative or after your lawyer files a petition to restore your driving privileges. 

If the judge allows you to regain your driver’s license with an IID, your probation officer will monitor you to make sure you comply with the court’s conditions.

After you receive permission to reinstate your driver’s license with an IID, you can have the IID installed on your vehicle at an authorized service center.

How a Smart Start IID Works

The IID serves as an additional “lock” on your car’s system. Normally, you need a key to start your car. In newer vehicles, you might just need a key fob. In either case, your key or key fob unlocks the ignition.

The IID sits in the ignition circuit and sets an additional condition for starting your vehicle. You need both your key or key fob and authorization from the IID to drive your car. The vehicle will not start from your key or key fob alone.

The Smart Start IID is just one of ten devices authorized by Ohio. You can choose which device to install and where to have it installed. You must pay the cost of installation and service.

Starting Your Car

The IID has a tube just like a handheld breathalyzer device. Before you start your car, you need to activate your device and blow into it. The device has a screen that gives you instructions. Generally, you will need to:

  • Take your photo with the device
  • Blow with steady pressure
  • Hum while you blow

These steps assure the court or your probation officer that the air blown into the IID came from you, not someone else or a mechanical device. The IID tests your breath and unlocks your ignition if it detects either no alcohol or alcohol below the limit set by the court.

The IID will not unlock your ignition if you fail to satisfy all of the steps and pass the test. More importantly, it will log a violation. If you are on probation, your probation officer may check for violations in your IID logs.

Driving Your Car

The IID will not disable your car while you drive. But it will prompt you for a rolling test at random times. To prevent the IID from logging a violation, you have a set period to pull over, blow into the device, and pass the test.

The IID will not turn off your car if you fail the test. Instead, the IID will record a violation in its log.

Obtaining an IID Is a Good Idea

Generally, if the court offers an IID as an option, you should take it. The IID will reduce your driver’s license suspension and provide accountability as you try to overcome any alcohol dependence issues you face.

An IID can also save you from a repeat OVI offense. If you get too drunk to drive, the IID will not start your vehicle, and you will need to find alternate transportation.

To learn more, call our Dayton Criminal Defense law firm at (937) 531-0435 or visit our contact us page to send us an email.