Drug-Related DUIs in Arizona and the Installation of Ignition Interlock Devices
DUI offenses can result in the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in a vehicle. The IID is essentially a breathalyzer that prevents the engine from starting if the driver has consumed alcohol. For drug-related DUIs in Arizona, IIDs are installed in automobiles for more serious and repeat DUI offenses.
Driving under the influence, however, could refer to taking illegal drugs rather than consuming alcohol before getting in the car. Does the installation of an IID apply to such offenses? Arizona underwent some legal changes in 2016 and here’s what the situation’s like today.
The Requirement for Drug-Related IID Installation has been Removed
Arizona Senate Bill 1228 passed in May 2016. According to the regulation, the installation of an ignition interlock device is no longer mandatory for the people convicted of DUIs or aggravated DUIs that don’t involve the consumption of alcohol.
Originally, the bill was turned down. Eventually, it passed after a motion to reconsider.
As of December 31, 2016, it’s up to the judge to determine whether the individual charged with such a DUI will have to install an IID in their car or not.
Under the new law, the use of intoxicating liquor is a mandatory requirement for the installation of an ignition interlock device.
It’s still illegal for anyone to operate a vehicle while impaired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A person who commits such an offense will still face the consequences that may include prison time, a fine and a suspension of a license. Once the license is reinstated, however, the outcome will be different for people who consumed alcohol and for the ones that committed DUI due to other impairing substances.
The Impact on Arizona Drivers
The removal of the mandatory requirement for the IID installation does not mean that penalties for individuals who take drugs/pharmaceuticals before getting in the car have become less severe. On the contrary. The penalties for drivers who use drugs are very often much more severe than for individuals who consume alcohol prior to operating a vehicle.
Individuals who have a DUI related to alcohol consumption, for example, may be eligible for a hardship license application. A hardship license allows for restricted driving rights – for example, making it easier for a person to go to work and back home. No hardship license opportunities are made available to those who are charged with DUI after taking drugs.
The installation of an IID, however, is quite a burden because it comes with certain responsibilities for the vehicle owner.
Whenever the installation of an ignition interlock device is ordered, the driver will have to choose a certified IID installation option, do alcohol screening every single time they get in the car, pay for the installation and maintenance of the device, provide proof of installation and show proof of compliance with the program.
Many see the new regulation as a victory and a way to reduce the burden on drivers without taking away from the severity of DUI punishments.
What to do if You’re Charged with DUI
If you’re charged with drug-related DUIs in Arizona that are not caused by the consumption of alcohol, you’ll need to meet with an experienced attorney. The offense is still serious and it can have an impact on your life in the future.
Also, the judge may still decide that an ignition interlock device will have to be installed, regardless of the fact that alcohol consumption didn’t take place. You need the right defense and you need to challenge the evidence in order to reduce this administrative burden.
In case you’re a person who has already been forced to install an IID for a drug-related DUI, you can’t benefit from the new provision. There’s no retroactive aspect of the law, which means that you will need to continue using the IID for the originally determined time period.