In Chattanooga, anyone convicted of driving while having a blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) of 0.08 or greater or any BAC in combination with drugs will have his/her driver’s license suspended for one year, and is required to have an ignition interlock installed in the vehicle for 365 consecutive days. An experienced Chattanooga DUI attorney can assist with having the suspension and the interlock requirement to run concurrently.
What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?
An ignition interlock device (“IID”) is an electronic device that is attached to your car’s ignition wiring. Most versions of the device look like a thick cellphone or maybe a large TV remote. Some versions are designed to look like a take-out drink cup to disguise the fact that it is an IID. The device itself is attached to the ignition system in your vehicle by a cord. The IID has a tube (or a “straw”) into which you blow so that the device can determine if there is alcohol in your system. In Tennessee, if the IID detects alcohol on your breath at 0.02 BAC or higher, the IID will prevent your car from starting.
How Does the IID Work?
As noted, there are several brands of IIDs on the market. While there are minor variations, in practice, they all operate in the same manner. Here are the general steps:
Step one: Turn the key to the ignition — your car will not start — the IID will power up — the IID has a small display screen that will indicate that you must blow into the device — when prompted, blow air into the IID
Step two: If the IID does NOT detect alcohol on your breath, then your car will start — if you FAIL the test, then your car will not start — the IID records the “failed” test
Step three: Randomized “rolling re-tests” are administered — at random intervals, the device will beep at you and you will have about five minutes to blow into the device — if you PASS, then you are “good to go” — if you FAIL, Tennessee law mandates that the IID will cause your horn to blow and your lights to flash — the honking and flashing will only stop when you turn off the ignition
Step four: You take your car in for monthly diagnostics and reports — the device records all the tests and various other information about your driving (mileage, etc.) — the reports are forwarded to the court monitoring division
The IID records “violations” and if you accumulate five violations, the IID is programmed to permanently lock your ignition unless you return to your vendor within seventy-two hours (3 days). Violations include: (i) somehow, the engine started without you blowing, (ii) you fail to take a rolling test or re-test, (iii) BAC of 0.02 or higher is detected and/or (iv) there is other evidence of tampering.
What Will I Have to Do If I Have an Iid According to Chattanooga DUI Law?
If you are required to have an IID in your vehicle, you must do the following:
- Have the IID installed — you are responsible for installation — installation is done by private companies licensed by the Tennessee DMV — you will not be allowed to watch the installation.
- Pay for the IID and installation — the startup costs for IID lease and installation varies, but is somewhere in the range of $100-$150.
- Have orientation — the IID vendor will give you (and any family or friends who will might drive your car) an orientation on the correct use of the device — anyone trying to drive your car will have to blow.
- Pay monthly lease and maintenance fees – there are monthly fees for the lease and the diagnostics — around $100 a month.
- Maintenance visits – as noted, you are required to visit your vendor once a month for data extraction and maintenance.
- Follow the rules and do not tamper with the IID — in Tennessee, all IIDs have cameras attached and an image is taken each time your blow — the IID also records any efforts to tamper or disable the device — follow the rules, do not have someone blow for you and do not tamper with the IID.
DUI License Restriction in Chattanooga
Not sure if you should hire a DUI attorney for your case? Reach out to Best, Hayduk & Brock today!
Your license is “restricted” in two ways. First, as discussed, you will only be permitted to drive a vehicle with the interlock installed. Second, The Judge could order additional geographic restrictions allowing you to only drive to/from:
- Your regular place of employment;
- Office, meeting, or function with probation officer;
- A court-ordered alcohol safety program;
- A college or university (if enrolled full time);
- A scheduled IID vendor monitoring appointment;
- An outpatient alcohol or drug treatment program; and
- A regularly scheduled religious service.
This means that, if you are pulled over by the CPD, you must be able to say that you were traveling to or from one of these locations. Be careful what you say. Do not volunteer any information, but be prepared to give an address. If you say you work for the “ABC Company” which has an address somewhere on the other side of town, that is not going to be convincing to the officer.
This also means that you cannot take a quick drive to the grocery store for some late-night ice-cream. You must match your driving to what is allowed.
Geographic restrictions are not common on a first offense DUI in Hamilton County, but it is within the Judge’s discretion, always.
Contact Best, Hayduk & Brock Today for Legal Advice on Chattanooga DUI Law
A DUI arrest — or any type of arrest — is scary. However, keep calm and understand that now is the time to fight. When you need a tough defense attorney who gets results and who knows the law, contact the law firm of Best, Hayduk & Brock. Attorneys Matt Brock and Andrea Hayduk are among the few Chattanooga-based defense attorneys who have completed the same DUI field sobriety training as police officers and similar scientific training to the lab technicians that test the blood in DUI cases. We know how to help. Contact us today for the Best in legal defense services.