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Starting Sept. 1, Texas DWI Law Extends Ignition Interlock to More Drivers

Up to now, Texas DWI law has sent a rather confusing message with regard to ignition interlock devices. These devices, which function like a Breathalyzer that prevents you from starting your vehicle if there is alcohol on your breath, were generally reserved for drivers whose blood-alcohol concentration was determined to be .15 percent or higher.

If you had a BAC between .08 and .15, then you faced license suspension without the interlock option. In other words, drivers arrested with a BAC of .15 or higher could potentially retain their driving privileges by installing an interlock device, while drivers with lower BACs had to ask for occupational driver's licenses, which judges often denied.

Instances of unlicensed driving could be reduced by a new change in the law.

Starting Sept. 1, a change in Texas DWI law extends the ignition interlock option to drivers whose BACs were lower than .15 but still over the legal limit.

The change in law is in part meant to address the problem of unlicensed driving. People who were convicted of drunk driving with a BAC less .15 were driving anyway, despite license suspensions. Now drivers convicted of drunk driving with BACs over .08 but under .15 can take action to have ignition interlock devices installed.

The right legal steps must be taken, though.

It is important to understand that you still have to pay fees to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. The device is not installed automatically, and in each case the correct legal steps must be taken before a deadline passes.

The impact of license suspension can affect virtually every aspect of your life, including your employment, your family and your ability to accomplish simple daily tasks. If you have been arrested for drunk driving, then speak with a DWI defense attorney as soon as possible about your defense options and preserving your driving privileges.

Go with your best available defense. Not every lawyer has the resources and strategies to effectively challenge a DWI charge.

At Hoelscher Gebbia PLLC, we are known for being on the cutting edge of DWI defense. Our work in uncovering flaws in breath and blood tests in San Antonio has affected thousands of cases throughout the state, not just those of our clients.

To learn more about defending against license suspension and other negative consequences of DWI/DUI charges, please see our DWI defense overview. 

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