Has Your Spouse Been Charged With A DUI? Information You Need To Know About Restricted Licenses & Ignition Interlock Devices
If your spouse is your family's sole breadwinner but they are currently in jail awaiting arraignment for a DUI charge, your mind is probably reeling with "what-ifs" regarding their ability to continue providing for your family. Fortunately, many states recognize that people do need to have the ability to continue to work after they complete any mandatory jail sentencing. At the same time, however, states are required to keep the public safe from repeated offenses of drunk drivers.
Both can be accomplished with ignition interlock devices. According to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), 2.3 million attempts at drunk driving were stopped by ignition interlock devices over the past 10 years, some of which also have surveillance cameras. Here's what you need to know if your spouse has been charged with a DUI and is waiting on arraignment.
He or She Needs an Attorney
If you haven't contacted an attorney yet, do it now. An attorney will be necessary to help your spouse fight the DUI charges. Hiring an attorney can make a huge difference in whether or not your spouse will serve jail time because an attorney can help with coming up with a defense to win the case or to reduce the charges.
Their Driving Privilege Is a Separate Matter
Regardless of the outcome of the criminal case, your spouse will also need to contend with the state's driver's licensing authority. In most states, a DUI charge is enough to suspend driving privileges altogether or to issue a restricted license, which might entail the installation of an ignition interlock device in their vehicle, depending on the severity of the charge and the amount of alcohol content in their blood. This will be determined in a hearing by the state's Department of Motor Vehicles. Your spouse can choose to be present at this hearing and have an attorney with them.
An Ignition Interlock Device May Be Required
An ignition interlock device may be a legal requirement in order for your spouse to be able to run errands and drive to work, the doctor's office, and their legal appointments. This device is essentially a mini-breathalyzer that is connected to the vehicle's ignition switch. Blowing into the device and yielding a negative result for alcohol on their breath enables the vehicle to start.
While driving the vehicle, your spouse will be required to recertify that they are not consuming alcohol by repeatedly blowing into the device whenever it signals an alert to do so. This setting is sporadic and not timed. He or she will have a limited amount of time to blow into the device after the alert is signaled. Typically, it's a small window of time that allows them to safely pull over if they need to.
A Surveillance Camera May Also Be Required
Sometimes, people who have DUI charges and are required to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles will also be required to have a surveillance camera installed in their vehicles. This is typically a requirement for those charged with having higher levels of blood alcohol content, depending on the state's laws. These surveillance cameras are placed in the top corner of the windshield and are focused on the driver's seat. The camera records when the ignition interlock device is being used or sends a signal.
This allows verification that your spouse is indeed the person who is blowing into the ignition interlock device and not someone else. It's an additional measure that is used to prevent them from driving while intoxicated and to keep the public safe. Speak with an attorney for more information about how restricted licenses and ignition interlock devices can help your spouse drive to their employment.