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What Should I Know About the Minnesota Ignition Interlock Requirements?

by Feb 8, 2022Criminal Defense Attorney, Dea Cortney, DWI / DUI

If your Minnesota driver’s license has been revoked or cancelled because of a DWI or other qualified impaired driving incident, you may be able to regain your driving privileges by participating in the Minnesota Ignition Interlock Device Program (IIDP). In this blog, we will tell you about the reasons you may want or need to enter the IIDP and answer some common questions we hear about the law and the program.

Who needs to use an ignition interlock device?

Minnesota law requires a driver whose license was revoked as a result of two or more alcohol offenses in ten years, or three or more in a lifetime, to complete the ignition interlock device program.

Ignition interlock is available, but not required, for first-time offenses including those with breath-alcohol tests 0.16 or more and refusal to take the alcohol test.  In those cases, the driver may choose to wait out their revocation period (and may be eligible for a limited license after 15 days), or they may enter the IIDP and drive with no waiting period.

How long will I need to be on ignition interlock?

The chart below outlines the revocation periods and their start times based on the number of offenses you have had within ten years, or within a lifetime, and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Offense Revocation Period Revocation Start
1st offense, BAC under 0.16 90 days 7 days from offense date
1st offense, BAC 0.16 or over 1 year 7 days from offense date
1st offense, test refusal 1 year 7 days from offense date
2nd offense in lifetime (greater than 10 years since 1st offense), BAC under 0.16 90 days 7 days from offense date
2nd offense in lifetime (greater than 10 years since 1st offense), BAC 0.16 or over 1 year 7 days from offense date
2nd offense in 10 years, BAC under 0.16 1 year Upon admission to IIDP
2nd offense in 10 years, BAC 0.16 or over 2 years Upon admission to IIDP
2nd offense, test refusal 2 years Upon admission to IIDP
3rd offense (any test level or refusal) in 10 years 3 years Upon admission to IIDP
4th offense (any test level or refusal) in 10 years 4 years Upon admission to IIDP
5th or greater offense (any test level or refusal) in 10 years 6 years Upon admission to IIDP
3rd offense in lifetime (greater than 10 years since last offense), BAC under 0.16 1 year Upon admission to IIDP
3rd offense in lifetime (greater than 10 years since last offense), BAC 0.16 or over 2 years Upon admission to IIDP
4th offense in lifetime (greater than 10 years since last offense) (any test level or refusal) 3 years Upon admission to IIDP
5th or greater offense in lifetime (greater than 10 years since last offense) (any test level or refusal) 6 years Upon admission to IIDP

The revocation period for second and subsequent offenses begins once a person is admitted to the IIDP. This means that if you don’t start the program immediately after your offense (whether because your license was temporarily reinstated during the criminal case or because you just didn’t start the program right away), you are not eligible for full license reinstatement until you have completed the entire revocation period on the IIDP.

If someone else got a DWI in my car, do I still need ignition interlock?

No, not unless that person intends to drive that vehicle during their revocation period. If the person who got the DWI does want to drive your car, even if it is in your name, your car will need ignition interlock.

An exception to this is if it is a company-owned vehicle. The person may be able to get an exception to drive a company-owned vehicle without ignition interlock installed for employment purposes only.

How do I enter the program?

The DVS website provides a lot of information including program guidelines, how to apply, program forms, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Generally, the steps to start the program are: pay the license reinstatement fee, apply for a new license, sign the program agreement and special review awareness form, provide proof of insurance, and arrange for installation by a certified vendor.

If you have had a previous insurance-related conviction, you will need to provide a certificate of insurance called an SR-22.

What if I own more than one vehicle?

You only need to install ignition interlock in the vehicle(s) you wish to drive during the revocation period. If you own more than one vehicle, but don’t intend to drive more than one, you can just install ignition interlock in one. But, if you want to be able to drive all of the vehicles, each one will need to be equipped with ignition interlock.

Can I install ignition interlock on a motorcycle?

As of now, most ignition interlock providers will not install a device on a motorcycle. This is because of several factors, including weather exposure that could damage the device, too much vibration and jostling that the device cannot withstand, lack of a place to securely store the device, power draw on the cycle’s engine, and the fact that a motorcycle driver is unlikely to hear the sound of the device alerting them to take a “rolling test.” One installer I spoke with described the devices as “sensitive machines” and said that one installed on a vehicle exposed to the elements would be subject to damage, and said that there is no room for a camera or modem, which are required to operate the device, on most motorcycles.

But, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has conducted a study examining the feasibility of alcohol interlocks on motorcycles. So, increased availability of installing interlock on a motorcycle may be in our future.

What about installing ignition interlock on recreational vehicles such as ATVs, snowmobiles, and boats?

If you lose your driver’s license in Minnesota, state law also prohibits you from driving off-road recreational vehicles and boats for the same period of time your license is revoked.

The Minnesota Ignition Interlock Device Program law states that a “program participant may operate an off-road recreational vehicle or motorboat only if it is equipped with an approved ignition interlock device . . .” But can an interlock be installed in such a vehicle? Unfortunately, none of the DVS-approved Minnesota installers currently provide recreational vehicle ignition interlocks, likely for the same reasons they don’t install on motorcycles.

Who can I talk to for more information?

You can learn a lot from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) website. Ignition Interlock installation companies are also great sources of information about their products and how to arrange for installation.

As always, if you need legal assistance for the underlying offense that led to the revocation of your license, the experienced DWI lawyers at Sieben Edmunds Miller are happy to answer any questions you may have and are available to represent you in your criminal case.

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