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Mandatory ignition interlock devices for first-time offenders

Many Texans are charged with driving while intoxicated each year. Because of the large number of drunk driving convictions in the U.S., Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been pushing for all of the states to pass laws making the use of ignition interlock devices mandatory for anyone who has been convicted of the offense.

On April 11, Maryland became the 26th state to make the installation of ignition interlock devices mandatory for even first time offenders. In that state, people who are convicted of driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or greater will have to install them.

MADD says that ignition interlock devices have prevented people who have been drinking from starting their vehicles in 1.7 million cases. The systems will not let the cars turn on if a person blows into them after ingesting alcohol. According to MADD, the number of people killed by drunk drivers has been reduced by 40 to 50 percent in states that have passed mandatory ignition interlock laws for all DWI offenders.

A person who is facing a drunk driving charge in Texas may face multiple penalties if a conviction is obtained, including jail time, fines and the suspension of driving privileges. In some cases they can avoid incarceration by instead agreeing to complete a specified number of hours of community service and to attend mandatory alcohol counseling sessions. However, the charges could be dropped completely in some cases, as for a example a successful challenge by a criminal defense attorney to the administration of a breath or blood test.

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R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
1545 Heights Blvd. Suite 600
Houston, TX 77008

Phone: 713-752-2728 | Fax: 713-650-1602
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