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The Woes of Arizona's Ignition Interlock Law


In 2007, Arizona passed a law that would make a huge impact on anyone who was convicted of DUI. The law requires the use of a Mandatory Ignition Interlock Device as a penalty for all DUI offenders. Before the law passed in 2007, these ignition interlock devices, or IID’s, were only required when someone was found guilty for Aggravated or Extreme DUI.

This penalty is among the stiffest in the country and even affects a person who has been convicted of their first DUI offense. Once the sentence is handed down, an IID must be installed in any vehicle the offender will be driving for one full year. Since the law was passed, attempts have been made to scale back the requirement to only 6 months, but have failed to pass.

How Does an IID Work?

Once the typical 90 day license suspension for DUI has passed, the offender is required to have an IID installed in the car they drive. The IID is a small box about the size of a large cell phone that connects to the car’s ignition. There is a small tube attached to the device that the person must blow into to test whether or not there is alcohol in their system. The device must be able to read that there is no alcohol on the person’s breath before the car will start.

Not only does the IID require a test before the car will start, but it also asks for random retests as the person is driving. When this happens, the person driving must pull over immediately and take the test again.


Since 2007, there have been dozens of companies surface who are certified to install and maintain ignition interlock devices throughout the state of Arizona. Between the initial installation costs and the monthly maintenance fees, a driver using an IID will spend around $1000.

Once installed, the IDD actually requires a special license called the Special Ignition Interlock Restricted Driver License from the Arizona MVD. With this license and the IID, a drivers is restricted to driving to only certain places, including work, school, alcohol treatment programs, approved medical appointments and IDD maintenance appointments. Basically, just because you have an IID installed in your car with the proper license, you are not simply free to drive wherever you want.

Other Possible Penalties

Further penalties and restrictions can be imposed if the following occurs:

  • A person with an IID takes the test and alcohol is found on their breath. In this case, the results of the test will be logged in the device’s records and they may face additional penalties, such as having their license suspended and probation violation.
  • A person with a Special Ignition Interlock Restricted Driver License is caught driving a car without an ignition interlock device. The driver will most likely be arrested and charged with additional crimes.

These are obviously very tough laws and extremely difficult to get around. When facing any type of DUI charge, it is imperative that you have an experienced DUI attorney on your side. Call Charlie Naegle today at 480-378-9000 for the best possible representation.

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