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Attorney Tracey A. Wood brought an appeal for a prior conviction for refusing to submit to a blood alcohol test to determine whether a driver was drunk. Her client, represented by another attorney, was found guilty in a Dane County Court. On appeal, Attorney Wood argued that the police stop, search and seizure of her appellant client were illegal, and therefore, the arrest and all evidence should be suppressed. The Court of Appeals agreed and reversed the conviction.
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IID: Ignition Interlocks Devices

IID stands for Ignition Interlock Device.

what is an IID, or Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device is a mechanical instrument that can be installed in a vehicle, and connected to the ignition switch to lock the ignition by interrupting the starter circuit until the IID is properly activated. Proper activation requires air to pass through a mechanism (very simular to a breathalyzer) that detects alcohol; the air assumably comes from the potential driver's breath being exhaled into the tube. The testing mechanism converts alcohol into an electronic signal that is then measured and converted into a reading that represents the percentage of alcohol. If the alcohol level exceeds the limit previously programmed into the device, the ignition intercept prevents the vehicle from starting; otherwise, the ignition will start the vehicle.

After the vehicle is started, the ignition interlock device requires additional air samples at random intervals. If the breathalyzer detects alcohol, or the driver fails to provide a sample, the event is logged within the memory of the ignition interlock device. Most devices also engage a series of alarms including flashing the headlights, honking the horn, and so forth if a failed event occurs, and continues the alarms until the vehicle is turned off.

Wisconsin Laws
IID – Ignition Interlock Device

Under Wisconsin’s new drunk driving laws, for an offense that occurs on or after July 1, 2010:

  1. An OWI 4th (a fourth drunk driving offense) is a felony if the defendant was previously convicted of a drunk driving offense within five years prior to the current offense;
  2. If a person is a repeat offender or a first time offender convicted of an OWI (WI DUI) with a blood alcohol level at or above .15, the court must order that they install an ignition interlock device (IID);
  3. If a person is convicted of a first offense and a child under the age of 16 years is in the vehicle at the time that the offense occurred, the non-criminal OWI 1st offense will be charged as a Misdemeanor;
  4. And there is a much greater emphasis placed on treatment for the driver who was arrested for driving while under the influence (alcohol dependency treatment or drug abuse treatment).

Changes in Wisconsin laws

Wisconsin law, and more specifically, Wisconsin Act 100, changed Wisconsin drunk driving laws in several manners, one of which regards the court’s discretion in ordering an ignition interlock device (IID) when a person is convicted of drunk driving under Wisconsin’s OWI laws.

When is an ignition interlock device required?

The new OWI DUI laws make Ignition Interlock Devices mandatory for persons convicted of:

  1. A repeat OWI offense (any second or subsequent operating while under the influence offense);
  2. Refusing to submit to a blood alcohol level test (a person who refuses to submit to a blood draw for a blood alcohol level test can be forced to do so, and still be charged with a refusal); and
  3. An OWI 1st (first offense operating while under influence) with a blood alcohol level at or above .15.

Court Ordered Ignition Interlock Devices

An ignition interlock device must be installed on every vehicle owned by or registered to the convicted offender. Courts can order an exemption of specific vehicle(s).

Ignition Interlock Devices must be ordered for the period of one year.  The restriction can be ordered by the court to begin immediately on the vehicle(s). For those drivers who obtain an occupational license for the purpose of driving to and from work, the restriction time line starts when the occupational license is issued.

For those persons convicted of a OWI and ordered to install an IID who do not obtain an occupational license, the restriction time line starts when their driving privileges are reinstated. Note that if reinstatement occurs after the time period required for the IID, the Department of Motor Vehicle will require you to show proof of installing the IID before they will reinstate your driver’s license. Previously, a person convicted of drunk driving who was ordered to install an IID in their vehicle(s) could wait out the IID; however, under Wisconsin’s new laws, that wouldn't be possible.

Violations To Court Ordered Ignition Interlock Device

If a person has been ordered by a court to install an IID (ignition interlock device) fails to install the device, removes the devices after installation, disconnects the device after installation, tampers with the device after installation, or in any manner circumvents the workings of a device, the mandatory period of time initially ordered by the court can be extended by six additional months.

Blood Alcohol Level With IID

Any person who has been ordered to install an ignition interlock device post conviction for a drunk driving offense is automatically subject to a lower legal blood alcohol level of .02 or less during the entire period of time during which the device must be installed.

free initial consultation

Van Wagner & Wood offers a free initial consultation to people who are seeking to hire an attorney for themselves or someone they care about to defend them against a drunk driving charge. It is important to remember that an arrest is not a conviction; an arrest is an allegation for which the state prosecutor must provide conclusive evidence to a court of law in Wisconsin. It is also important to remember that the testing equipment can malfunction, blood tests can be mishandled and officers can be mistaken.

Request a free initial consultation by calling ( or ) Van Wagner & Wood right away, or submit your case information either prior to calling or to request a call from one of the attorneys.