Ask a Trooper

Question: I was arrested for DWI, Where do I find information about ignition interlock?

Answer: First-time DWI offenders arrested at 0.16 alcohol-concentration level or above and second-time offenders can voluntarily enroll in the ignition interlock program to regain legal driving privileges. If they don’t enroll, they face at least one year without a driver’s license. Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.

The law gives DWI offenders a chance to regain driving privileges by ensuring safe and legal driving through the use of the interlock device. Interlock users will regain full driving privileges immediately after the offense and enrollment into the program. This ensures they are driving with a valid license and are not a threat on the road.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services Division administers the ignition interlock program, and you can contact them at dvs.ii@state.mn.us or (651) 296-2948 to enroll in the program. Information is also available at https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/dvs/programs/mn-ignition-interlock/Pages/default.aspx.

Interlock devices are installed near the steering wheel and connect to the engine. They require a driver to blow into a tube and provide a breath sample in order for the vehicle to start.

The vehicle will not start if the device detects an alcohol-concentration level of 0.02 or above. Interlocks require rolling re-tests after the initial test, but a failed test will not disable the vehicle while in motion for safety reasons. The device also has features to deter others from starting the vehicle for the intended user.

The ignition interlock program protects Minnesotans from the dangers of impaired driving by:

Creating safer roads.

Providing a way for offenders to obtain a valid driver’s license, addressing the problem of people driving without a valid license.

Encouraging behavior modification and rehabilitation.

Diminishing the possibility of a repeat DWI.

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