By Carlos Gamino

When you’re convicted of operating while intoxicated in Wisconsin, you may have to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. In fact, a significant number of people convicted of OWI in Wisconsin have to install these devices – so here’s what you need to know.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device is a device that requires you to blow into a mouthpiece to test your breath alcohol concentration before you can start your car. If the device – commonly called an IID – detects a concentration above 0.02 percent, your vehicle won’t start. If your alcohol concentration reaches that level after you start the vehicle, the device will activate your emergency lights and horn to draw attention to you.

Won’t You Lose Your Driving Privileges if You’re Convicted of OWI in Wisconsin?

You will lose your driving privileges if you’re convicted of OWI in Wisconsin, but after a certain amount of time has passed, you may be eligible to apply for an occupational license. An occupational license lets you drive to and from work or school, or to handle essential household activities. If the state allows you to have an occupational license, the condition of using it is that you must have an IID installed in the car you’re using. You must have an IID installed in every vehicle that’s registered or titled in your name before you apply for an occupational license (even if you only drive one vehicle).

If you choose not to apply for an occupational license and wait for your driving privileges to be restored, you’ll still have to have an IID installed for the amount of time that the judge in your case has ordered. In fact, judges are required to order IIDs for:

  • All first-time OWI offenders whose alcohol concentration was 1.5 percent or higher at the time of the crime
  • All repeat OWI offenders
  • All drivers who refuse to provide a breath or blood sample for a chemical test

How Much Does it Cost to Install an IID in Wisconsin?

Every installer charges a different amount for installation, monthly service and removal of the IID. You can shop around for the best prices, but generally speaking, it costs between $900 and $1,200 per year to keep an IID active on one vehicle.

Installation ranges from $45 to $150, depending on the type of ignition your vehicle has; monthly service fees are generally between $60 and $80, and removal is usually under $100.

Related: Do I need a lawyer for first-time OWI?

How Long Do You Have to Keep an IID on Your Vehicle?

You have to keep an IID on your vehicle for as long as the judge orders you to. You’ll have it for at least one year.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About OWI Charges and IIDs?

If you’re facing OWI charges, it’s in your best interest to get legal advice from a qualified professional. Call our office at 414-383-6700 now to schedule a free consultation now – we can give you the help you need.

Attorney Carlos Gamino