Ignition Interlock for First Offenses: Pros and Cons, Part 2

This is the last post of our coverage of ignition interlock devices in Texas. Last week, the Texas legislature heard testimony regarding whether to require all first-time DWI sentences to include a mandatory ignition interlock device. When judges require ignition interlock, defendants must purchase and install a device that prevents them from starting a car without passing a breath test.

Although there are some big potential benefits to ignition interlock devices, including easy access to an objective test to measure a driver's blood test, some opponents of this proposal also make good arguments. One of these arguments involves the cost to defendants and the state of possible DWI penalties.

To begin with, ignition interlock devices can be expensive. Drivers are on the hook to purchase, install, and maintain them. In addition, Texas would need to pay for monitoring results and facilitating a larger program. One advocacy group estimated the monitoring cost as between $12 and $7 million.

This group recommends a more flexible approach that would look at each defendant and determine whether an interlock device would help them avoid a future offense.

Regardless of how the debate on ignition interlock devices plays out at the legislature, every Texas DWI defendant should consult with an experienced defense lawyer to explore all aspects of the case.

Source: KHOU.com, "Interlocks for first offenses among DWI proposals heard by lawmakers," Mark Wiggins and Michael Moore, Dec. 3, 2012

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