New Arizona DUI Law to Require Ignition Interlock Devices for All DUI Offenders


Mandating the use of breath alcohol ignition interlock devices in the vehicles of DUI offenders has been a common theme in proposed DUI laws this year, and the state of Arizona has just recently signed a law requiring these breath testers in the vehicles of people convicted of drunk driving.

An ignition interlock device, of course, requires a person to blow into a blood alcohol content (BAC) tester located inside the vehicle and prevents the car from starting if a certain amount of alcohol is found on the breath. It is illegal to be driving or operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher in not only Arizona but all other 49 states.

On May 18th, Governor Janet Napolitano signed SB1029 into an Arizona DUI law that now requires all DUI offenders to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles for at least one year after regaining their driving privileges. Prior to the signing of this new DUI law in Arizona, ignition interlocks were required in the vehicles of repeat DUI offenders or those convicted of extreme or aggravated DUI.

An online KVOA story detailed how this new Arizona DUI law also includes a provision stipulating 45 days of consecutive jail time for first-time extreme DUI offenders with a BAC of .20 percent or higher. Current DUI law in Arizona stipulates 30 consecutive days of jail for a first-time extreme DUI offender. However, a judge can suspend all but 10 of those days.

Senator Jim Waring of Phoenix sponsored this new Arizona DUI law, which originally did not include the ignition interlock requirement. That part of the bill was added in an amendment by Senator David Schapira of Tempe.

Both the Arizona House and Senate overwhelmingly approved this DUI bill before it was signed into law by Governor Napolitano.

Ignition Interlock Device Systems in Other States

Arizona now joins New Mexico as states requiring ignition interlock devices for residents convicted of DUI. A similar New Mexico DUI law was enacted in 2005.

With that said, other states have been seriously considering the use of breath alcohol ignition interlock devices as a means to curb DUI in their respective states. A proposed Florida DUI law would require ignition interlock devices be installed in the vehicles of first-time offenders for at least six months. This time period would increase for drivers with a BAC of 0.20 percent or higher, and drivers convicted of DUI while having a minor in the car and registering a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher in Florida. Under the proposed Florida DUI law, a car with an ignition interlock device would not start with a BAC reading of .025 percent or higher.

Illinois and South Carolina have also considered ignition interlock devices in 2007. Illinois Senate Bill 300 would require that first-time offenders install an alcohol ignition interlock device in their vehicles and get rid of the state's judicial driving permit.

A proposed South Carolina DUI law would require the use of ignition interlock devices on a time system based on the number of offenses. Specifically, first-time DUI offenders in the state would have to use ignition interlock devices for one year, two timers for two years and three-time offenders for three years. Alcohol ignition interlock devices would be required for life for four-time and subsequent DUI offenders in South Carolina under this proposed law.

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