Is a Blow Device Necessary to Drive After a DWI?

As a DWI attorney in St. Louis, I am often asked whether or not a blow device will have to be put in your car. An ignition interlock is a device you blow into, and whether or not you will be required to have one depends on a few things:

Ignition Interlock is Required When:

  1. Blow devices can be required by the Court as a condition of probation for anyone who is on probation for a DWI.
    • This is up to the Judge
    • This includes first-time offenses if the Judge orders ignition interlock as a ‘special condition of probation’
  2. Blow devices are required by law for 2nd and subsequent DWI’s
    • This isn’t up to the Judge, it is the law in Missouri
    • An ignition interlock is required for a minimum of 6 months from the time of reinstatement of the driver's license.
  3. Blow devices are required by law if you are on a limited driving privilege (hardship license) during a long-term, alcohol-related revocation.
    • If you are revoked for “refusing to blow
    • If you are on a 5-year or 10-year denial
      • 5-year denial happens if you get 2 alcohol convictions within a 5-year period, or are convicted of DWI manslaughter.
      • 10-year denial happens if you have three or more convictions for DWI or DWI-related offenses

What about my company car?

There is an exception to the ignition interlock requirement, but only if you get a court order that allows you to drive your employer-owned vehicle without an ignition interlock device.

  • You can drive without interlock for employment-purposes, in an employer-owned vehicle only
  • This does not apply for self-employed people or owners of businesses that have employer-owned vehicles.

What happens if I get caught driving without a blow device?

If you are required to have Ignition Interlock and you are caught driving without a blow device:

  • This is a Class A Misdemeanor in Missouri
    • Carries a penalty of up to 1-year in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
  • Your License will be revoked if you plead guilty:
    • 1 year for a first offense
    • 5 years for second and subsequent offenses

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