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What is Ignition Interlock?

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2012 | Firm News |

Why is Ignition Interlock Important?

Effective July 1, 2011 the Minnesota Legislature modified the driver’s license penalties associated with alcohol offenses. The duration of time that a driver’s license can now be taken away has greatly increased. However, the legislature did create an alternative means by which offenders can regain the use of their driver’s license – namely Ignition Interlock.

What is Ignition Interlock?

It is a device installed in your vehicle near the steering wheel and connected to the engine in order to measure your alcohol concentration level. The ignition interlock requires any driver of the vehicle to blow into the device prior to starting the vehicle. The device measures the alcohol concentration of the driver. Your vehicle will not be allowed to start without a passing result. Therefore, if the driver attempting to start the vehicle has been drinking the vehicle will not start. The ignition interlock is also set up to collect random breath samples from the driver while the vehicle is being driven. The device will beep and the driver is required to provide a breath sample; if alcohol is detected, then a violation is recorded and sent to the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services.

How long will I need to be on Ignition Interlock?

The duration of time that a person is required to be on Ignition Interlock depends on how long the offender’s driver’s license has been or will be taken away, as well as the number of prior alcohol related offenses on the offender’s record. The following tables provide a summary of the time requirements. The durations noted are measured from the date that the limited use license has been issued.

Restricted License with Ignition Interlock

Note: The DVS may extend the time for violations. The last 90 days on Ignition Interlock must not have any recorded violations.

1st Alcohol Related Offense 2nd Alcohol Related Offense in 10 Years or 3rd Alcohol Offense on Record
Under 0.16 Alcohol Concentration 90 days/180 days if under age 21 1 year
0.16 or over Alcohol Concentration 1 year 2 years
Alcohol Concentration Test refusal 1 year 2 years

Canceled and Denied as Unfavorable to Public Safety

Note: The DVS may extend the time for violations.

3rd Alcohol Related Offense in 10 Years or 4th on Record 3 years Total – 1 year limited license; then 2 years on a restricted license
4th Alcohol Related Offense in 10 Years 4 years Total – 1 year limited license; then 3 years on a restricted license
5th and or Subsequent Alcohol Related Offense 6 years Total – 1 year limited license; then 5 years on a restricted license

What is the process for signing up for Ignition Interlock?

An offender who has had their license taken away due to an alcohol related offense(s) must meet the following criteria:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Have a driver’s license
  • Own and or drive a vehicle that can be operated with a Class D license without any other endorsements required.
    • The Ignition Interlock device cannot be installed on rental vehicles, recreational vehicles, motorcycles, mopeds, or scooters.
  • Have valid insurance and provide a Certificate of Insurance for the vehicle(s) to be equipped with Ignition Interlock.
    • The vehicle identification number (VIN) on the Certificate of Insurance must match the VIN for the vehicle(s) to have the Ignition Interlock.
  • License must not currently have a license taken away by another state.
  • Complete, sign, and date the Application for Ignition Interlock Limited License.
  • Complete a chemical assessment
  • Enroll in a treatment or other program – If required or otherwise ordered.
  • Complete, sign, and date the Last Use Statement.
  • Pay and provide a copy of the receipt for the driver’s license reinstatement fee.
  • Pay and provide a copy of the receipt for the driver’s license application fee.

Once you have met and provided the documentation required above, and the DVS approves the installation, you will then need to select an Ignition Interlock device provider. The DVS has certified 6 providers: LifeSafer Interlock, Inc. ( – (800) 745-0331); 1A Smart Start ( – (952) 224-7050); B.E.S.T. Labs, Inc. ( – (855) 800-3748); Draeger Safety Diagnostics, Inc. ( – (800) 332-6858); Consumer Safety Technology, Inc. ( – (877) 777-5020); and Guardian Interlock ( – (800) 499-0994). After selecting an Ignition Interlock provider, you will need to set up an appointment to have the device installed on the vehicle(s). The Ignition Interlock provider will provide training to all drivers of the vehicle(s).

Your limited license will be issued by the DVS once the Ignition Interlock device has been installed on the vehicle(s). However, it is your responsibility to ensure that your driver’s license status has been properly updated to allow you drive and you have received a copy of the limited use license. You can check your driver’s license status online at

What are the ongoing obligations once the Ignition Interlock device is installed?

The Ignition Interlock device gathers and stores the data from breath tests, any violations, and how often the vehicle has been used. The Ignition Interlock lock must be serviced on a monthly basis. However, if you select a wireless device, then the device only needs to be serviced every 60 days. The service appointments include:

  • Data will be downloaded from the device (wireless device data is transmitted daily);
  • The Ignition Interlock device will be checked for tampering or other misuse;
  • The device will be calibrated to ensure proper testing.

You may be required to report to the device provider prior to your next scheduled 30 or 60 day service appointment for an early recall if one or more of the following occurs:

  • 2 or more start-up lockouts resulting from failed alcohol tests;
  • 2 or more failures to re-test resulting from a start-up lockout resulting from failed alcohol tests;
  • 1 failed re-test resulting from a positive alcohol test;
  • Recorded violation (including tampering, illegal start violation, etc.); or
  • Ignition Interlock device malfunction.

If you are required to return to the device provider for an early recall, you will generally have 5 days to return to the device provider. However, if you fail to return to the device provider for the early recall, then the device may lockout permanently requiring you to pay to have the vehicle towed to the device provider and/or pay for an emergency override.

How Much Does Ignition Interlock Cost?

The cost for ignition lock varies depending on the provider you choose and the number of vehicles that must be equipped with the Ignition Interlock device. The following provides a general breakdown of the costs associated with the device, but you will need to contact the device provider for the actual cost.

  • Installation Fee: $100 – $200
  • Monthly Rental Fee: $60 – $150

There may be additional fees for the maintenance of the device, the downloading/transmitting of the data to the DVS, the removal of the device from the vehicle(s), as well as lockout fees. Contact the provider you intend to use for more information regarding fees.

What does this mean for you?

If you may or have been charged with a crime that could require you to use Ignition Interlock, it is important to contact an experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer for afree consultation. You need an experienced attorney guiding through the court process and fighting to protect your rights.