If you’ve been convicted of a specific DUI offense, the court may have ordered the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle. Such a penalty is imposed to prevent further instances of drunk driving and decrease the risk of alcohol-related accidents.
The way IIDs work is that they measure the alcohol content in your body based on a breath sample. Before you can start your vehicle, you must blow into the device. If it detects any amount of alcohol, it will render your car inoperable.
You don’t have to have an IID on your car for the rest of your life. However, the court may require that you keep one on any vehicle you operate for a certain length of time. Once the requirement expires, you might be wondering if you can remove the device from your car yourself. The answer to that is a resounding no.
Tampering with an Ignition Interlock Device
Because the purpose of an ignition interlock device installation is to increase public safety, Connecticut has established a law that prevents you, and other individuals subject to this condition, from messing with it.
What does the law prohibit? As mentioned before, the IID works by not allowing your car to start when it detects alcohol in your system. This means if you’re out one night, have one drink, and try to drive home, you won’t be able to. You’ll have to grab a ride from a friend or hail a rideshare service. However, let’s say you don’t want to leave your car at the place you’re at. You know one of your friends didn’t drink, so they won’t have any amount of alcohol in their system. If you ask them to blow into the IID to get your car to start, you’ll be violating the law.
The tampering with the ignition interlock device also prohibits you from driving a car without an IID installed. Returning to the above scenario, if you ask one of your friends to switch vehicles with you so you can drive home, you’re committing an offense.
Now, suppose you went out on the day before your ignition interlock device installation requirement expired. Surely you could remove it yourself then, right? What’s one day? One day is actually the difference between your freedom and possible incarceration. Regardless of whether you’re still required to have an IID on your car or not, trying to remove it yourself is illegal. These machines require special equipment to take them off and can only be done by an authorized company. Additionally, when the company removes the device, they must send a report that they did so. If you take action yourself, you’ll be accused of tampering with the IID.
What Are the Penalties for IID Tampering?
Having someone else blow into your ignition interlock device, driving a car without one installed, or taking it off yourself are all considered class C misdemeanor offenses. If you’re convicted, you could be sentenced to jail for up to 3 months and/or fined up to $500.