My Car Has a Breathalyzer Installed: What Should I Know?

If you’re dealing with a DUI conviction, you should expect to have to make some adjustments in your life to deal with all of the consequences. Many people in such circumstances may be required to get an ignition interlock device installed in your car. An ignition interlock device, also known as a breathalyzer, is connected to the vehicle and will prevent you from driving if you’ve consumed any alcohol.

You don’t want to slip up while trying to comply with your court orders, so be sure to fully educate yourself on how the car breathalyzer works before you start driving with it. Here are a few tips to help you understand how it works and answer questions you may have, such as “Can I trick the breathalyzer?” or “Can anyone drive a car with a breathalyzer?”

How It Works

After you’ve paid to have the device installed, you’ll have to breathe into it every time you want to start the car’s engine. It’ll test the air from your lungs for alcohol, and it will only let you start the engine if your breath passes the test. Using mints or other things to freshen your breath won’t change the result, as it tests the air from your lungs, and not just from your mouth. However, to be safe, you might want to avoid products like mouthwash that also contain alcohol. If you take the test after having had a drink, or while you still have alcohol in your system, the breathalyzer will shut down, and you’ll have to wait a while before you can retake the test to try to start the engine. The wait might be as long as a half hour, depending on the device.

If you fail the test multiple times, the device will shut down for longer. Once you pass the test and start driving, the machine may require you to test your breath again while on the road. If you fail or refuse to breathe into it, the test will be recorded and lights and alarms on the car will go off. You’re also not allowed to try to tamper with the device if you don’t want to face further legal consequences. If you try to trick the machine, the court will likely find out and you won’t be any closer to getting your normal driving privileges back.

Other Drivers

Once your ignition interlock is installed, anyone can use your vehicle that otherwise would have been allowed to use it. The only difference will be that whoever uses it, whether it’s a spouse, a child, friend or anyone else, will also have to breathe into the device. That means you are responsible for everyone that drives your car while the breathalyzer is installed, even if it’s the mechanic or the valet. Every positive test for alcohol will be recorded and will be seen by the court. One way you can potentially avoid facing the consequences for other people’s actions is by carefully recording what other people use your car and when.