Ignition Interlock Timeline
Interviewer: When did the ignition interlock come into play? Was it only after a conviction or can it happen before you’re convicted?
Steven Tomeo: The way it works on a conviction is – say a person is found guilty or pleads guilty – after your conviction you will get a letter from the Department of Motor Vehicles suspending your license for 45 days and advising you at the end of the 45-day period you can receive the ignition interlock device for the appropriate period of time-based on what conviction number you have.
Interviewer: It only comes after a conviction then?
Steven Tomeo: No. If you have never had a conviction or any DUI and you get an administrative suspension from the Department of Motor Vehicles, there will be an ignition interlock component, also.
Criminal v. Administrative Case
Interviewer: Okay, so if you’re in a case and you’re able to successfully fight the criminal portion of it but lose the driver’s license portion of it, do you still have to have an ignition interlock?
Steven Tomeo: That’s right, or if you qualify for a diversionary program like the alcohol education program, which gets the case dismissed, and then you have your DMV portion; you just don’t get a suspension. You would get a suspension with the ignition interlock device.
Interviewer: Now there’s no safe harbor for people – except a total dismissal – to avoid having an ignition interlock?
Steven Tomeo: That’s right.
Interviewer: Okay. What about when people are thinking, “Oh, I’ll just get into the AEP program. That will solve everything”?
Steven Tomeo: It won’t solve everything. That’s the problem. In other words, they give you the diversionary program because it’s your first time. That’s in court and you get the case dismissed but the second part of it is the Department of Motor Vehicles suspension hearing. You get a suspension, and you’ve got to drive with the ignition interlock device.