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Signing of Connecticut bill means ignition interlocks even for first DUI

Starting next year, ignition interlocks will be required for all drunk driving offenders.

An ignition interlock is a small device that is wired into a vehicle's ignition system. The driver must blow into the device before starting the vehicle. If the ignition interlock detects a certain measurable amount of alcohol, the vehicle will not start.

In Connecticut, installation of an ignition interlock device has already been required for some drivers convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. However, under a new bill recently signed by Governor Dannel Malloy, an ignition interlock will be required even for a first DUI offense.

Ignition interlocks can be inconvenient and expensive

Specifically, the new law authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles to take administrative action in requiring ignition interlock installation for first-time DUI offenders. While the law does reduce the mandatory license suspension period for some drunk driving violations, it will impose ignition interlock requirements at the conclusion of license suspensions.

In the past, mandatory ignition interlocks were reserved in Connecticut for those believed to present a particular danger to other motorists. Now however, ignition interlocks will be required for DUI convictions and Department of Motor Vehicle Administrative Per Se Suspensions even if it is the offender's first time being in trouble with the legal system.

Having to use an ignition interlock can obviously be embarrassing and inconvenient. But it can also be cripplingly expensive. Just to participate in Connecticut's ignition interlock program, you must pay a series of hefty fees to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Once your fees have been paid and your application approved, you must pay an ignition interlock vendor to install a device. After the ignition interlock is installed, you are responsible for maintenance costs and service fees from the vendor. Eventually, you will have to pay to have the ignition interlock removed.

The new ignition interlock bill was signed into law on August 11 in a ceremony held on the front plaza of the Fairfield Police Department headquarters. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2015.

Get help from a DUI defense attorney if you are facing charges

If you are being accused of driving under the influence of alcohol in Connecticut, you are facing some harsh consequences, the potential for mandatory installation of an ignition interlock being just one of them. However, you do have legal rights, and by staging a strong legal defense, you may be able to avoid some of the worst consequences of a DUI conviction.

Protect your future and your freedom. Talk to a Connecticut DUI defense lawyer today if you are being accused of drunk driving.

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