Malcolm Seawell Oct. 15, 2020

If you’ve suffered a Driving Under the Influence conviction or had your license revoked for refusing to take a chemical breath or blood test following a DUI stop or failed a test with a Blood or Breath Alcohol concentration above a .08, then in almost all circumstances you will not be able to legally drive unless and until you obtain an interlock restricted license. To obtain an interlock restricted license, DMV requires you to jump through many hoops. You must sign a lease with an approved interlock provider and have installed an interlock device on all motor vehicles registered in your name. Once you have your interlock restricted license, you may only drive a vehicle equipped with an interlock. The interlock device requires that you provide a sample of your breath to start and then periodically to maintain the operation of the vehicle. If the device detects alcohol consumption at a preset level of .025 g/dl or greater (defined as an Excess Breath Alcohol Content event) the device will literally turn your vehicle off. Once off, the device will lock out the operation of the vehicle for a period of time and then will only allow the vehicle to be started when the BAC is below that .025 level.

If you have Excess Breath Alcohol Content in three or more reporting periods (usually about a month) over a total of twelve consecutive reporting periods, your interlock requirement may be extended by up to an additional year. If you continue to accumulate Excess Breath Alcohol Content events after an extension, you may receive more than one extension. Your interlock provider works hand and glove with the DMV to report these violations on a periodic basis and unfortunately, these companies make more money the more people have to use these devices so there’s a real financial disincentive for these companies to see that you comply and are released from these onerous requirements.

If the DMV receives notice that you’ve had Excessive Alcohol Content events in any three reporting periods during a twelve month time frame or that you were operating a vehicle that was not equipped with an interlock device, you will be subject to an extension of the interlock restricted license for up to an additional year. DMV will send you notice of the extension. If you just go ahead and sign a new lease with the interlock provider for the new extended period of restriction, you will waive any right to contest the extension forfeiting any defenses you may have to another year of interlock restriction. You do, however, have a choice. You can fight this extension and with proper preparation, evidence and skillful advocacy, you can beat this extension entirely or at least avoid a full twelve-month extension based on the proper presentation of mitigating evidence.

If you do request a hearing, DMV is required to forward the reports from the interlock provider to you so that you can begin mounting a defense to the specific Excess Breath Alcohol Content events. In my practice, I’ve helped many clients avoid these extensions. Many times the records provided by the interlock providers are inaccurate, misleading or are within the margin of error and are belied by other tests taken in close proximity to an Excess Alcohol Content event. Do not accept an extension and needlessly pay for another year of the interlock. Call the Law Offices of Malcolm B Seawell, PC now and let us help you fight DMV.