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Mississippi DUI: What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

By:Victor Carmody, Mississippi DUI lawyer since 1980 and Legal Book Author

Victor Carmody

An alcohol ignition interlock device (IID) or breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) is a breath alcohol collection and analysis tool. Although seldom used a decade ago, changes to Mississippi DUI laws and the court process has led to these IID installations being the rule, rather than the exception. To learn more about first offense DUI in MS or the Mississippi DUI nonadjudication alternative or expungement option that mandates interlock installation, follow the links provided.

The electronic equipment includes a type of BAC breathalyzer that is installed in a motor vehicle, through its ignition system. The purpose of an ignition interlock device is to control the vehicle of a person under court supervision by disabling the vehicle if alcohol is present on the driver's breath.

Most car interlock systems are court-ordered as drunk driving interlock device that prevents a convicted driver from cranking the vehicle until he or she proves (by having a "clean" blow) that no significant alcohol is on his or her breath. You may ask, "Can mouthwash make you fail a breathalyzer test on an ignition lock device?" Yes, it can, if it has alcohol of any type in it.

In Mississippi, an ignition interlock for DUI probationers is highly common. Plus, if you need to further define ignition interlock device technology, consult the manufacturers' websites. In over half of all states, even a first offense DUI-DWI driver must install a DUI car interlock.

Car Interlock

The car interlock device requires the driver to make a deep lung exhalation into a breath collection mouthpiece that is integrated into the testing chamber of the device. This sobriety check/DUI ignition lock-out technology will prevent the vehicle from starting when ethanol is detected.

Plus, after driving begins. the device signals the driver to blow again, to confirm no alcohol is present, to continue operating the vehicle. A storage data system or cell phone-based reporting system lets the IID monitoring company know of any breath alcohol content readings that exceed the threshold.

Problem Areas for Interlock Ignition Device Installation in MS

A DUI car ignition interlock is easy on some vehicles and nearly impossible on others. Under the criminal justice system rules, a court mandated breathalyzer MUST be installed to receive the restricted right to drive.

New battery-powered, electric vehicles and high-end luxury vehicles have a high degree of difficulty with DUI car ignition lock systems. Plus, each year, car manufacturers create better anti-theft technology that thwarts any "tapping into" the electrical system, whether done through a physical, wired-in connection or a Bluetooth wireless ignition system.

11 FAQs Ignition Interlock Devices in Mississippi Court Cases

High on the list of vehicle ignition interlock questions of clients are these FAQs:

  1. What does an interlock device look like? While part of the IID installs under the dashboard of a vehicle the driver/passenger will only likely see a tube attached to a device about the size of a small cell phone.
  2. Can a passenger drink in a car equipped with an IID? Except for violating the open container law, the alcohol in a passenger's system should not trigger an ambient air failure. But, smart probationers will not be testing this issue, and possibly triggering a probation revocation hearing.
  3. How often does an ignition interlock malfunction cause a problem? Many drivers have reported an Intoxalock warning message, the Intoxalock mouthpiece, or other Intoxalock problems. A Smart Start violation due to the device being set up incorrectly has occurred, too. As the largest supplier, Smart Start interlock problems are likely the most common.
  4. What happens when my IID records a failure? Multiple things occur. First, an electronic record exists of the failure. Second, you may have to wait until the device resets, and try again. Third, the probation department or court system may be asking you questions about the false positive.
  5. Can Listerine affect breathalyzer testing? As stated above, unless it is the non-alcohol type, expect a "flag" for alcohol for 15 to 25 minutes after mouthwash use.
  6. Which companies have approved breath ignition interlock system devices in Mississippi? Draeger interlock device, Smart Start, Intoxalock, Lifesafer, and Guardian.
  7. Is a DUI ignition interlock device (breathalyzer) required to drive? In Mississippi, you are required to have an IID installed in every vehicle you drive. In addition, you must also purchase and have an IID restricted license on your person.
  8. What is the threshold DUI breathalyzer scale used, before the device flags for alcohol? Under Mississippi regulations, a breathalyzer test results scale is set to FLAG a positive reading when alcohol above a 0.040 grams percent is detected.
  9. Are there accounts of an ignition interlock causing car problems? Yes.
  10. Things that will Set off an Interlock Device? Volatile chemicals like rubbing alcohol, or fingernail polish remover may do it, or gasoline fumes inside the passenger compartment.
  11. Where to get an Interlock Device? All courts and good DUI lawyers near you will have contact information for IID companies.
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