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What is an ignition interlock device, and will I need one?

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The Ignition Interlock Program is only one of the tools Ontario is using to combat impaired driving in the province. Essentially, an ignition interlock device is a small electronic machine that is installed near the driver’s seat and is wired into your vehicle’s system.

In order to start the car, you must blow into the machine. The device will then automatically calculate your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. If it is too high, the car simply will not start.

Once you are on the road, you must continue to provide periodic breath samples. If you fail to do so — or if the BAC results exceed a certain level — the ignition interlock device will note the incident and activate certain alarms.

You may be required to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program if you meet either of the following criteria:

  1. You are convicted of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs in Ontario.
  2. Your driver’s license is suspended due to three or more BAC readings of .05 to .08 in the past five years.

If you were convicted of a drinking and driving offence and meet the requirements for having your licence reinstated, the length of time you need to have the device in your car can vary. If this was your first impaired driving offence, you will be required to have the device installed for at least 12 months. If it was your second offense, the minimum length of time is three years.

To learn more about the potential penalties for impaired driving in Toronto or elsewhere in Ontario, consult a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer.

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