The short answer to if you need the interlock after being arrested for a DUI is: It depends.
A person who was merely arrested for a DUI/DWI (A.R.S. 28-1381 / 28-1382) will not require an interlock, however a person who has been convicted of a DUI likely will need an interlock device. There are exceptions. First, if the person beats the DUI case, or pleads the case to a reckless driving conviction (thereby avoiding a DUI conviction), Arizona law will not require the interlock. Moreover, under some select circumstances, a drug DUI conviction A.R.S. 28-1381(A)(1) or 28-1381(A)(3) will not require an interlock. Some drug DUI convictions will still require an interlock. Many people feel this is absurd because today’s interlock devices cannot detect drugs other than alcohol, so the device does not prohibit the driver from re-repeating the drug DUI.
Should I install the interlock in my car?
Often times, people install an interlock in their car prematurely or later than they should. This can have negative impacts ranging from wasting thousands of dollars, requiring the interlock be installed longer than necessary, or causing unnecessary license suspensions. People who feel they may need to install an interlock need to consult with an attorney and ADOT before taking action.
How much does an interlock cost?
It depends on which provider is selected. Like many things in the private sector, pricing can be competitive. There are specials, discounts, and other ways to save money. Although there is no known study conducted, which calculates the average or median costs for an Arizona interlock, generally, $100/month seems normal.
Do I need to install an interlock in every car I own?
No. But, if Arizona law requires you to install an interlock, it is a violation of the misdemeanor traffic code to be driving a vehicle that doesn’t have the interlock installed. Said another way, you don’t have to install an interlock into every car you own, but you can only drive cars that have the interlock installed. Again, it’s best to consult with an attorney knowledgeable about this area of law.
Can I install an interlock in a car owned by someone else?
Yes. Although not the best practice, ADOT permits a person required to install the interlock to install the interlock into a car owned/ registered to a different person. Keep in mind, having another person (other than the person who has been ordered to install an interlock) use the vehicle, once an interlock is installed, should be avoided.
Can I pay more money and avoid the interlock?
Not really. The statutes require that an alcohol DUI conviction will require an interlock. A person ordered to install an interlock due to a DUI conviction cannot bargain it away by agreeing to more jail/fines/counseling, etc. Having said that, by paying for an attorney, the person may be able to negotiate the case (before the DUI case ends) to a resolution that avoids a DUI conviction. Not all DUI lawyers are the same. You need to hire an attorney who knows how to spot weaknesses in the government’s case, as this is almost always the most persuasive way to negotiate the case to avoid a DUI conviction. Similarly, knowing the court system, prosecutorial policies, and learning about the client’s background can have an important impact.
I can’t get through to ADOT? What should I do?
ADOT is not known for its customer service. Often, drivers who have entered the DUI labyrinth feel ADOT’s practices and policies are too strict and too strictly interpret statutes and regulations. If you have trouble contacting ADOT, especially during the pandemic, practice patience and keep trying. If you remain unsuccessful, promptly contact a DUI attorney in Arizona who has the knowledge to email ADOT directly and is able to read and interpret motor vehicle records.
How can I avoid an interlock?
Again, the best way is to beat the DUI conviction. This requires going to a jury trial an getting not guilty verdicts, getting the case dismissed before trial, or negotiating the case to a reckless driving. Generally, you need a good lawyer to achieve any of these results. Often the best DUI attorneys will be more likely to achieve these results than a less competent lawyer, however, if the government has a strong case against you, it may be impossible to get these results, even with Arizona’s best DUI lawyers. Having said that, there are often weaknesses in the State’s case (or parts of their case) that are not apparent until a competent DUI lawyer thoroughly reviews the discovery. In the 12 months since this post, I have been able to negotiate dismissals of DUI cases by pointing out that the body camera footage showed the police improperly administered the breath testing (Intoxilyzer); by finding issues in the blood results attributed to my client; and by finding constitutional violations. These types of issues are often not apparent to the person arrested, or even the police at the time of the arrest. Again, a person arrested for a DUI needs to find a lawyer who has the skills and time to review the discovery thoroughly and know what issues are important. Often, lawyers will accept a DUI case, despite not regularly practicing DUI litigation. This is a red flag and this type of attorney should be avoided.