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Locked out? Breathalyzer ignition locks may expand

Numerous measures can comprise the sentencing for a drunk driving conviction. From the loss of a license, heavy fines, to jail time, judges and juries make deliberate attempts to keep those found guilty off the road and seriously impacted by their conviction. One additional measure that can dog a driver long after fines have been paid and time is served is the inclusion of an ignition lock device on their current or future vehicle(s)

Highly invasive, these ignition interlock must be breathed into and show a strictly limited blood alcohol content, usually .02 or .04 percent, before a car may be started. Courts across the country, including Connecticut, have been known to require locks for repeat DUI and DWI offenders, but now things may be beginning to change.

The National Transportation Safety Board recommended last week that ignition lock devices be installed following all drunk driving convictions nationwide. That goes for first-time offenders as well, who will come to have to deal with a permanent invasion of their driving freedom every time they get in the driver's seat.

The NTSB's policy of mandatory ignition locks is one already employed in 17 states. Although the Board's director referred to the recommendations as a "milestone" debate over the practicality of such a measure persists. A representative from the American Beverage Institution asserted that interlock devices should only be required for the most chronic of offenders. "You don't punish somebody going give miles over the speed limit," the representative said "the same way you do somebody going 50 miles over."

In-car breathalyzer locks are just one of the many hurdles that may be faced by a driver pressed with DUI or DWI charges. Keeping one's driving rights intact is an important task, one best taken up with the aid of a drunk driving defense attorney.

Source: Washington Post, "NTSB recommends every state require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunken drivers," Dec. 11, 2012

• A drunk driving conviction can become a brake on the rest of life. For information on how to build a strong defense, contact our Stamford DWI law page.

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