There is no doubt that Arizona’s drunk driving laws are among the very toughest in the nation. A first DUI offense can mean jail time, substantial fines, mandated alcohol treatment and required community service. All those convicted of DUI in our state are also required to equip their vehicle with a certified ignition interlock device.

Many people who have been arrested for DUI are unsure of what an ignition interlock device is, how it works and if the rumors they might have heard about the devices are true.

Ignition lock device company Intoxalock has a number of locations in the Valley of the Sun, including in Phoenix, Mesa, Glendale and Scottsdale. The company says its devices allow those convicted of drunk driving to continue to work, attend school and take care of other important tasks. That’s a big improvement over the past, it contends, in which a DUI conviction resulted in a license suspension or revocation that prevented driving for any and all reasons.

It says a driver with one of its ignition interlocks installed must take an initial test by blowing into the device. If you pass the test, the vehicle starts up and off you go. If the device detects alcohol, however, the driver must wait a few minutes before retesting. If you fail subsequent tests, the wait times increase – each time without allowing the vehicle to be started.

The test data will be sent to authorities, who will then extend the ignition lock requirement for a full year. They can also impose additional penalties, however.

After you’re notified of an apparent ignition lock violation, you have just 15 days to request a hearing to contest the infraction.

You can discuss a false or mistaken ignition interlock device reading with an attorney experienced in effective DUI defense.