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Ignition Interlock Devices in South Carolina

Ignition Interlock device is a breath device that is placed on the ignition system of a car and prevents the car from being started without first testing and periodically retesting the breath sample of the driver to make sure their blood alcohol level is less than .02.  The interlock device is a small instrument installed into the starting circuit of a vehicle. Ignition interlock devices use an ethanol-specific fuel cell for a sensor. Fuel cell technology is not as accurate or reliable as other technology used in breathalyzers, but they are more specific to a person’s alcohol content. Interlock devices keep a record of the activity on the device. The record is printed out each time the device’s sensors go off, usually 30, 60, or 90-day interval. Authorities may require periodic review of the log that is printed off. However, the offender must have the interlock device inspected every 60 days to verify the device is fixated to the motor vehicle and properly operating.

The interlock device is required to be affixed to a motor vehicle following the completion of a period of license suspension imposed. If the DUI is for a second offense, the interlock device will be installed for two years. For a third offense, the interlock device will be implemented for three years. For a fourth DUI offense, an interlock device will be implemented for the remainder of the offender’s life. The length of time the interlock device is required to be on a motor vehicle is based on the Department of Motor Vehicle’s records and convictions.

The person who has an interlock device installed is subject to an Interlock Device Point System managed by the Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services. The South Carolina Department of Probation applies a point system for violations of the rules. Violations can include failure to report for mandatory inspections, attempting to start a vehicle with a BAC of above 0.02, or failing a random breath test while the car is in motion. If an offender receives two points, the interlock device on the vehicle is extended by two months. An offender who receives a total of three points will have the length of time of the interlock device extended by four months. If an offender received more than four points, they will have their license suspended for one year.

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