The Albarado Law Firm, P.C.

Texas DUI: Things to know about interlock devices

As a licensed driver in Texas, you're obligated to adhere to the traffic laws of this state and any other state through which you might travel while driving. Regarding DUI, each state has its own regulations and guidelines in governance of the issue. If you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol here in Texas, you might incur a driver's license suspension but have an opportunity to opt for installing an interlock ignition device in your vehicle instead.

Texas law states that operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content level of .08 or higher is a crime. The problem is that breath tests can be unreliable. In fact, if you used mouthwash, took cough syrup or have diabetes, a breath test device might register positive for the presence of alcohol on your breath, even if you did not consume an alcoholic beverage. The interlock ignition device is essentially a mobile breath test device. It's important to know your rights regarding such matters.

The cost of an interlock device is on you

If the court convicts you of DUI in Texas, and you are granted the option of installing an interlock ignition device in your vehicle rather than incur a driver's license suspension for 30 days, you are the one who has to pay for the device. The cost of installation, monitoring and removal can be upwards of $500. However, if you calculate the expenses you might incur for travel to and from work if you can't drive, you might think the interlock device is the less expensive option.

Should you let other people drive your car?

If you have installed an interlock ignition device in your vehicle, a person borrowing your car will have to take the breath test to start the ignition. What if he or she fails the test? If your installation system did not include a camera, the state can hold you responsible for the negative test result because you would have no way to prove you were not the person behind the wheel at the time.

Protecting your rights

When a police officer pulls you over and asks you to step out of your vehicle, it's likely that he or she suspects you of DUI. You do not have to take field sobriety tests if you don't want to, although many drivers think it's best to cooperate with police as much as possible because the fact that you refuse a test can be used to try to incriminate you in court if you later face DUI charges.

It's understandable that you'd feel nervous or afraid if a police officer is telling you to get out of your car and asking you to perform roadside tests or take a chemical Breathalyzer test. If you refuse the latter, the state can immediately revoke your license. You do not have to go it alone, however, because you may request legal support at any time.

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