Anybody who is arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas now has to have some concern about a judge possibly ordering them to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on all motor vehicles they own or operate. An IID is a breathalyzer device that is designed to prevent a car from starting when a driver has consumed too much alcohol, and anybody who has concerns about facing unnecessary costs should consult a Fort Worth ignition interlock device attorney.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that IIDs reduce recidivism among both first-time and repeat DWI offenders, with reductions in subsequent DWI arrests ranging from 50 to 90 percent while the IID is installed on a vehicle. As it currently stands, NHTSA reports that Alabama, South Dakota, and Vermont are the only three states that do not allow for the use of IIDs for alleged DWI offenders.
Ignition Interlock Device Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and Southlake, TX
If you were recently arrested for DWI, make sure to retain legal counsel for help avoiding a costly Ignition Interlock Device sentence. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to help you avoid this kind of penalty.
Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (817) 422-5350 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Southlake, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and surrounding areas of Tarrant County, TX area.
Texas Ignition Interlock Device Laws
Texas’ Ignition Interlock Device laws are found in three different locations: the Texas Penal Code, the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Texas Transportation Code. All alleged DWI offenders must install an IID as a condition of bond and/or probation if they satisfy certain criteria.
Texas Penal Code § 49.09(h) applies only to people convicted of second or subsequent DWI offenses committed within five years of the date of the most recent offense. A court can enter an order requiring an alleged offender to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed on every motor vehicle they own or operate using a deep-lung breath analysis mechanism to make impractical the operation of a motor vehicle when ethyl alcohol is detected in the breath of the operator and requires that before the first anniversary of the ending date of the period of license suspension under Texas Transportation Code § 521.344, the alleged offender does not operate any motor vehicle that is not equipped with that device.
The court must require the alleged offender to obtain the device at their own cost on or before that ending date, require the alleged offender to provide evidence to the court on or before the ending date that the device has been installed on every appropriate vehicle, and order the device to remain installed on every vehicle until the first anniversary of the ending date. If a court determines the alleged offender is unable to pay for the device, the court can impose a reasonable payment schedule not to extend beyond the first anniversary of the date of installation.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) can approve devices for use. Texas Transportation Code § 521.247 applies to the approval of a device and the consequences of that approval.
Failure to comply with an order is punishable by contempt. The court that enters an order retains jurisdiction over the alleged offender until the date on which an IID is no longer required to remain installed.
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 17.441 establishes that a magistrate must require on release that an alleged offender charged with a subsequent DWI offense or a DWI with child passenger, intoxication assault, or intoxication manslaughter offense have installed on the motor vehicle owned by the alleged offender or on the vehicle most regularly driven by the alleged offender, a device that uses a deep-lung breath analysis mechanism to make impractical the operation of a motor vehicle if ethyl alcohol is detected in the breath of the operator, and not operate any motor vehicle unless the vehicle is equipped with that device. The magistrate cannot require the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device if the magistrate finds that to require the device would not be in the best interest of justice.
If an alleged offender is required to have the device installed, the magistrate must require that the alleged offender have the device installed on the appropriate motor vehicle, at the alleged offender’s expense, before the 30th day after the date the alleged offender is released on bond. The magistrate can designate an appropriate agency to verify the installation of the IID and monitor the IID.
If the magistrate designates an agency, in each month during which an agency verifies the installation of the Ignition Interlock Device or provides a monitoring service the alleged offender must pay a reimbursement fee to the designated agency in an amount set by the magistrate. The alleged offender must pay the initial reimbursement fee at the time the agency verifies the installation of the IID.
In each subsequent month during which the alleged offender is required to pay a reimbursement fee, the alleged offender must pay the fee on the first occasion in that month that the agency provides a monitoring service. The magistrate must set the fee in an amount not to exceed $10 as determined by a county auditor or by a commissioner’s court if the county has no county auditor, sufficient enough to cover the cost incurred by the designated agency in conducting the verification or providing the monitoring service.
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 42A.408 states that a court can require as a condition of community supervision that an alleged offender placed on community supervision after conviction of a DWI offense have an Ignition Interlock Device installed on the motor vehicle owned by the alleged offender or on the vehicle most regularly driven by the alleged offender and that the alleged offender not operate any motor vehicle not equipped with an IID. The court must require as a condition of community supervision that an alleged offender has an Ignition Interlock Device installed on the motor vehicle owned by the alleged offender or on the vehicle most regularly driven by the alleged offender and that the alleged offender not operate any motor vehicle unless the vehicle is equipped with an IID if it is shown that an analysis of a specimen of the alleged offender’s blood, breath, or urine showed an alcohol concentration level of 0.15 or more at the time the analysis was performed, the alleged offender is placed on community supervision after a DWI conviction for which the alleged offender is punished, or the court determines that the alleged offender has one or more previous DWI convictions.
Before placing an alleged offender convicted of a DWI offense on community supervision, the court must determine from criminal history record information maintained by DPS whether the alleged offender has one or more previous convictions. A previous conviction cannot be used for purposes of restricting a defendant to the operation of a motor vehicle equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device under Subsection if the previous conviction was a final conviction and was for an offense committed before the beginning of the 10-year period preceding the date of the offense for which the alleged offender was convicted and placed on community supervision, and the alleged offender has not been convicted of a DWI offense committed within the 10-year period preceding the date of the offense for which the alleged offender was convicted and placed on community supervision.
A judge who places on community supervision an alleged offender who was younger than 21 years of age at the time of an offense and was convicted for a DWI, can require as a condition of community supervision that the alleged offender does not operate any motor vehicle unless the vehicle is equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device. A judge granting deferred adjudication community supervision to an alleged offender for a DWI offense can require that the alleged offender as a condition of community supervision have an IID installed on the motor vehicle owned by the alleged offender or on the vehicle most regularly driven by the alleged offender and that the alleged offender not operate any motor vehicle that is not equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device.
If a judge determines that the alleged offender is unable to pay for an Ignition Interlock Device, the judge may impose a reasonable payment schedule. If the alleged offender provides the court evidence under Texas Transportation Code § 709.001, sufficient to establish that the alleged offender is indigent for purposes of that section, the judge may enter in the record a finding that the alleged offender is indigent and reduce the costs to the defendant by ordering a waiver of the installation charge for the IID and a 50 percent reduction of the monthly device monitoring fee.
A reduction in costs does not apply to any fees that may be assessed against an alleged offender if the Ignition Interlock Device detects ethyl alcohol on the breath of a person attempting to operate a motor vehicle. A judge can waive the IID requirement for an alleged offender if, based on a controlled substance and alcohol evaluation of the alleged offender, the judge determines and enters in the record that restricting the alleged offender to the use of an ignition interlock is not necessary for the safety of the community.
The court must require the alleged offender to obtain an IID at their own cost before the 30th day after the date of conviction unless the court finds that to do so would not be in the best interest of justice and enters its findings on the record. The court can require the alleged offender to provide evidence to the court within the 30-day period that the Ignition Interlock Device has been installed on the appropriate vehicle and order the IID to remain installed on that vehicle for a period the length of which is not less than 50 percent of the supervision period.
If a court determines the alleged offender is unable to pay for the Ignition Interlock Device, the court can impose a reasonable payment schedule not to exceed twice the length of the period of the court’s order. DPS can approve IIDs, and Texas Transportation Code § 521.247 applies to the approval of an IID under this article and the consequences of that approval.
If an alleged offender is required to operate a motor vehicle in the course and scope of their employment and if the employer owns the vehicle, the alleged offender may operate that vehicle without installation of an approved Ignition Interlock Device if the employer has been notified of that driving privilege restriction and if proof of that notification is with the vehicle. The employment exemption does not apply if the business entity that owns the vehicle is owned or controlled by the alleged offender.
Texas Transportation Code § 521.246 establishes that if a person’s license has been suspended after a conviction of a DWI offense, the judge can restrict the person to the operation of a motor vehicle equipped with an IID. The alleged offender must obtain the IID at their own expense unless the court finds that to do so is not in the best interest of justice and enters that finding in the record.
If a court determines that the person cannot pay for an IID, the court can impose a reasonable payment schedule for a term not exceeding twice the period of the court’s order. The court can order the Ignition Interlock Device to remain installed for the duration of the period of suspension.
A person can operate a motor vehicle without the installation of an approved Ignition Interlock Device if the person is required to operate a motor vehicle in the course and scope of their employment, the person’s employer owns the vehicle, the employer is not owned or controlled by the person whose driving privilege is restricted, the employer is notified of the driving privilege restriction, and proof of that notification is with the vehicle. A previous conviction cannot be used for purposes of restricting a person to the operation of a motor vehicle equipped with an IID under this section if the previous conviction was a final conviction for a DWI offense and was for an offense committed more than 10 years before the offense for which the person was convicted, and the person has not been convicted of a DWI offense committed within 10 years before the date on which the offense for which the person was convicted.
Under Transportation Code § 521.2465, on receipt of notice that a person has been restricted to the use of a motor vehicle equipped with an IID, DPS must notify that person that the person’s driver’s license expires on the 30th day after the date of the notice. On application by the person and payment of a fee of $10, DPS must issue a special restricted license that conspicuously indicates that the person is authorized to operate only a motor vehicle equipped with an IID.
The notice provided to the person by DPS can be provided by first class mail or e-mail if the person has provided an e-mail address to DPS and has elected to receive the notice electronically. On receipt of a copy of a court order removing the restriction or at the end of the period of suspension, DPS must issue the person a driver’s license without the restriction.
Transportation Code § 521.247 states that DPS must adopt rules for the approval of Ignition Interlock Devices used. DPS by rule must establish general standards for the calibration and maintenance of the IIDs, and the manufacturer or an authorized representative of the manufacturer is responsible for calibrating and maintaining the IID.
If DPS approves a device, DPS must notify the manufacturer of that approval in writing. Written notice from DPS to a manufacturer is admissible in a civil or criminal proceeding in Texas, and the manufacturer must reimburse DPS for any cost incurred by DPS in approving the device.
DPS is not liable in a civil or criminal proceeding that arises from the use of an approved device. Transportation Code § 521.2475 provides that on January 1 of each year, DPS must issue an evaluation of each Ignition Interlock Device approved using guidelines established by NHTSA, including whether the device provides accurate detection of alveolar air, the moving retest abilities of the device, the use of tamper-proof blood alcohol content level software by the device, the anticircumvention design of the device, the recalibration requirements of the device, and the breath action required by the operator. DPS must assess the cost of preparing the evaluation equally against each manufacturer of an approved device.
Under Transportation Code § 521.2476, DPS, by rule, must establish minimum standards for vendors of IIDs who conduct business in this state, and procedures to ensure compliance with those standards, including procedures for the inspection of a vendor’s facilities. The minimum standards must require each vendor to be authorized by the department to do business in this state, install a device only if the device is approved, obtain liability insurance providing coverage for damages arising out of the operation or use of IIDs in amounts and under the terms specified by the department, install the IID and activate any anticircumvention feature of the IID within a reasonable time after the vendor receives notice that installation is ordered by a court, install and inspect the IID in accordance with any applicable court order, repair or replace an IID not later than 48 hours after receiving notice of a complaint regarding the operation of the IID, submit a written report of any violation of a court order to that court and to the person’s supervising officer, if any, not later than 48 hours after the vendor discovers the violation, maintain a record of each action taken by the vendor with respect to each IID installed by the vendor, including each action taken as a result of an attempt to circumvent the IID, until at least the fifth anniversary after the date of installation, make a copy of the record available for inspection by or send a copy of the record to any court, supervising officer, or the department on request, and annually provide to the department a written report of each service and IID feature made available by the vendor.
DPS can revoke its authorization for a vendor to do business in this state if the vendor or an officer or employee of the vendor violates any law of this state that applies to the vendor, or any rule adopted by the department under this section or another law that applies to the vendor. A vendor must reimburse DPS for the reasonable cost of conducting each inspection of the vendor’s facilities under this section.
Texas Transportation Code § 521.342(b) further states that DPS must suspend for one year the license of a person who is under 21 years of age and is convicted of a DWI offense, regardless of whether they are required to attend an educational program that is designed to rehabilitate persons who have operated motor vehicles while intoxicated unless the person is placed under community supervision and is required as a condition of the community supervision to not operate a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is equipped with an IID. If the person is required to attend such a program and does not complete the program before the end of the person’s suspension, the department must suspend the person’s license or continue the suspension, as appropriate, until the department receives proof that the person has successfully completed the program.
Upon successful completion of the program, the person’s instructor must give notice to DPS and to the community supervision and corrections department.
Ignition Interlock Device Costs
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) will charge a $10 license fee to register as an IID user. Installation costs usually range from $70 to $120.
A monthly lease will cost between $60 and $120. Some devices are available for as low as $15.50 a week.
You will also need to return to a service center on a regular basis (usually every 30, 60, or 90 days) to have your device calibrated. There are typically no costs associated with calibration, but if additional service is required, you could have to pay an associated cost.
Additional Driver’s License Options
Texas Transportation Code § 521.242 provides that a person whose license has been suspended for a cause other than a physical or mental disability or impairment or a DWI conviction can apply for an occupational license by filing a verified petition with the clerk of a justice, county, or district court with jurisdiction that includes the precinct or county in which the person resides or the offense occurred for which the license was suspended. A person can apply for an occupational license by filing a verified petition only with the clerk of the court in which the person was convicted if the person’s license has been automatically suspended or canceled for a conviction of an offense under the laws of this state, and the person has not been issued, in the 10 years preceding the date of the filing of the petition, more than one occupational license after a conviction under the laws of this state.
A petition filed must set forth in detail the person’s essential need. A petition must state that the petitioner was convicted in that court for an offense under the laws of this state.
The clerk of the court must file the petition as in any other matter. A court cannot grant an occupational license for the operation of a commercial motor vehicle to which Chapter 522 of the Texas Transportation Code applies.
State law in Texas also allows for an essential needs license for an arrest related to DWI offenses before an alleged DWI offender appears in court for adjudication and during the period of an administrative license suspension. Even if a person requests an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing within the required 15-day period after a DWI arrest and the request for a restricted license is denied, an essential needs license may be granted if a person provides compelling reasons why such a license is needed and agrees to install an IID.
Tarrant County Ignition Interlock Device Resources
Ignition Interlock Device | Texas Department of Public Safety — Visit the DPS website to learn more about IID laws and regulations, licensing and registration, and reports and statistics. You can also find an approved device list, certified service centers, and the driver’s license division. Learn how to get a device approved and find vendor information.
Deleon v. State, 284 S.W.3d 894 — Jesse Eugene Deleon appealed a trial court’s requirement his car be fitted with an IID in the judgment granting his petition for an occupational driver’s license. Deleon was arrested for DWI and refused to provide a specimen of his breath for testing with his driver’s license being suspended. While his DWI trial was pending, Deleon filed in district court a petition for an occupational driver’s license, alleging an essential need for him to operate a motor vehicle to get to and from his employment and to have visitation with his children, also testifying that he had no prior convictions for DWI or for any alcohol- or drug-related offenses. Deleon requested that the trial court not impose the installation of an IID as a condition for the occupational license, but the trial court granted an occupational license but also required that Deleon have an IID installed on his car. On appeal, Deleon contended the trial court had no authority to impose the requirement of an IID on his occupational license. The Court of Appeals of Texas in Dallas ruled that Texas Transportation Code § 524.246 requires that a person convicted of DWI, intoxication assault, or intoxication manslaughter before a trial court has authority to require a person’s vehicle to be fitted with an IID, but the record did not show Deleon had been convicted of any of these offenses and he testified he had never been convicted of any offense. Accordingly, the trial court did not have the authority to impose the requirement of an IID, and its requirement that Deleon has an IID installed on his car was without reference to any guiding rule or principle, so the Court of Appeals sustained Deleon’s issue.
Find A Tarrant County Defense Attorney for DWI and facing a Ignition Interlock Device | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
Were you arrested for a DWI in Tarrant County? Get the help of a skilled criminal defense lawyer in avoiding possible IID orders.
Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (817) 422-5350 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Southlake, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and surrounding areas of Tarrant County, TX area.