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Ignition Interlock Violations Defense Attorney: What Happens Next?

You’ve been cooped up for weeks during Minnesota’s COVID-19 stay-at-home order – and you’re tired of it. Even though you’re on probation for DWI and are required to have an ignition interlock on your car, you decide to have some beers. After all, you are stressed out, quarantined at home, and lonely. Everything is closed and there is nothing else to do. Who is going to know? So, you drink A lot

The next morning, your boss calls wanting you for a side job. Everyone’s hours have been cut due to coronavirus – and money is tight. So, you scramble out of bed and head out the door. 

But when you get to your car and blow into the ignition interlock – it fails. The car won’t start. You feel completely sober, but apparently there is still alcohol in your system. 

Your employer is never going to understand this and you really need the money. You’re feeling desperate – and you have some knowledge of wiring – so you mess with the device and find that you can disable it. Then you drive to work. 

And now you’re in trouble. Most ignition interlock devices have cameras. And, if you try to get it fixed by a service technician, they are required by law to report you. 

Minnesota Ignition Interlock Attorney 

An ignition interlock violation is a serious offense. Much like a probation violation, tampering with your required ignition interlock can lead to very harsh punishments. An experienced Minneapolis criminal defense attorney can help. The team at Gerald Miller, P.A. has defended all kinds of complicated criminal cases, including DWI, probation violations, and ignition interlock violations. Call 612-440-3212 for a free case evaluation or fill out our contact form. You also can reach out via live chat on our home page. 

What is Ignition Interlock?

The Ignition Interlock Device Program is designed for public safety by giving the people arrested for DWI the option of having an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle. The device is the size of a hand-held calculator and includes a blowing tube. It prevents your vehicle from starting if it detects a certain alcohol concentration level after you blow into the tube. The device is installed near the steering wheel and connected to the engine.

Drivers whose licenses are canceled and whose privileges are denied as are required to enroll in the Ignition Interlock Device Program for a period of three to six years in order to regain full driving privileges. 

For you, the benefit of the Ignition Interlock Device Program offers you a way to obtain a driver’s license after having yours revoked due to the DWI arrest. It allows people to drive anytime, anywhere while they are under their period of revocation. Unlike the limited license that some offenders are allowed to use, the ignition interlock is a full-privilege license (again, unless you are a cancelled-IPS driver, those drivers have different requirements).

It also diminishes the probability and possibility of repeat DWI. The Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation reports interlock devices can reduce repeat DWI offenses on average 64 percent. 

Ignition Interlock Violations and Penalties 

But like in our scenario, people do violate the terms of the Minnesota ignition interlock program. Some get tired of having to blow into it before driving and periodically while driving. Others are embarrassed having it in their vehicles. And, others want to continue to drink freely despite the problems alcohol has already caused them. Examples of ignition interlock program violations include:

  • Tampering, bypassing or circumventing the device, or attempting to tamper, bypass, or circumvent the device. 
  • Having someone else blow into the device for you. 
  • Failure to provide at least 30 verifications of abstinence breath tests each month.
  • Three failures to take a rolling retest within a six months period.
  • An alcohol reading at or greater than .02 with no retest within 25 minutes. Or, an alcohol reading at or greater than .02 with a retest within 35 minutes at or greater than .02. 
  • Having anyone other than an authorized service center remove the device.
  • Moving, adjusting or blocking the camera from direct and unobstructed view of the
    driver’s seat so that the face of the person providing the breath test is not visible.
  •  Standing outside the vehicle to take the breath test in order to avoid the camera.
  •  Push starting the vehicle.
  •  Disconnecting or cutting any wires which would interfere with the normal operation of the ignition interlock device.
  •  Removing tamper-proof seals. 

Possible Penalties and Punishments for Violating the Ignition Interlock Program 


  • 1st Offense: An additional 180 days will be added to the violator’s revocation period.


  • 2nd Offense: An additional one year will be added to the violator’s most recent revocation period.


  • 3rd Offense: An additional 545 days will be added to the violator’s most recent revocation period.


  • Revoked Status: An additional 90 days from the date of the violation and it only applies to the last 90 days of the program.


  • Cancelled & Denied Status: Must re-enroll in the program and start the cancellation period over (in addition to having to complete the reinstatement requirements again as well).

If you have been accused of violating Minnesota’s ignition interlock program, the Minneapolis DWI and criminal defense attorneys at Gerald Miller, P.A. can help. You have rights. We understand why you did it. And, we can help. Schedule your free case evaluation today. 

About Gerald Miller, P.A.

Were you or someone you love arrested for violating the requirements of the interlock ignition program after a DWI? You’re not alone. We can help, no matter what additional charges you are facing. 

The experienced Minneapolis criminal defense attorneys at Gerald Miller, P.A. will review your case and determine the best course of action. We will guide you through the process, working toward a positive outcome no matter the circumstances of the arrest. Our firm has a high success rate. We’ve fought cases all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court. We dig into every aspect of the case, from the time of the arrest the officer’s actions to the accuracy of your Breathalyzer test.

What Makes Gerald Miller Different From Other Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorneys? 

The Minneapolis lawyers at Gerald Miller handle all aspects of criminal law across the Twin Cities and statewide, but we have focused on DWIs for nearly 40 years. A DWI affects your driving ability, your finances, and your professional reputation. Don’t let one mistake negatively impact your future.

We have earned dozens of positive Google, Yelp and Facebook reviews from satisfied clients. Our firm is widely recognized throughout the Twin Cities for our professionalism, compassion, knowledge, and dedication both in and out of the courtroom. The Minneapolis DWI attorneys at Gerald Miller DWI Law Firm are respected by our peers, colleagues, judges, and prosecutors. We have earned national awards and accolades from the American Bar Association, The National Trial Lawyers, the American Institute of DWI/DUI Attorneys, the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys, the National Academy for DUI Defense, and more. 

Gerald Miller, P.A. also has received the elite “SuperLawyer” distinction by Thomson Reuters. 

Legal Counsel is Critical to Success

The sooner you contact us, the faster we can start protecting your rights. Contact us today to schedule your free and confidential case evaluation at 612-430-6743. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to give you some answers, a little hope, and plenty of well-deserved peace of mind. Visit www.geraldmillerlawyer.com or check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

About the author

Gerald Miller

Gerald Miller is a top-notch and experienced DWI/DUI lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. in Minneapolis, MN. He has more than 35 years of experience in Criminal Defense practice. He has also been a mentor to numerous DUI/DWI defense attorneys.

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