Michigan Ignition Interlock Violation Attorney
Being charged with an ignition interlock violation in Michigan is a frustrating process that requires extensive documentation and paperwork to be filed with the Secretary of State. These Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) violations are often in error and the result of a simple mistake, however unfortunately once the process has been started it is exceptionally difficult to stop.
Having an experienced lawyer specializing in BAIID violation defense can be the difference between having these charges dismissed or losing your driving privileges again. Attorney Mike Kelly at Kelly and Kelly P.C. has years of expertise defending against BAIID violation charges in Michigan. If you have been charged with a BAIID violation, please contact us today to make sure you have the best legal outcome possible.
Different Levels of Violations
There are two different levels of violations that occur with a BAIID. These are divided into minor and major violations, which come with different levels of consequences. While minor violations can cause additional inconvenience and hassle, major violations are quite serious and can place the entire BAIID monitoring program and schedule in jeopardy.
This is the lowest level of violation, which automatically results in a three month extension on the monitoring program. While this is an inconvenience, it can turn into a major violation if there are three or more violations in a single monitoring period. Because of this, minor violations should still be taken seriously.
The most common minor violation is the result of missing an appointment with a service provider and then subsequently failing to reschedule within seven days. Life happens and sometimes individuals are unable to make their scheduled appointment. The state understands this and gives a generous seven day grace period to have the BAIID service performed. However they are less understanding when an individual fails to use the grace period they have provided.
Another minor violation is the start-up failure. This occurs when the BAIID prevents vehicle startup because it detects alcohol on the user’s breath. The device records every time a start-up failure occurs, and if three failed start-up attempts occur within the same monitoring period, then it will be counted as a minor violation.
This type of violation is the most egregious and can result in serious consequences for the violator. These violations result in the immediate revocation or suspension of the offenders license. This places them back into the same circumstances that existed prior to the issuance of their restricted license after a DUI. It also makes getting back a restricted license even more difficult than before, and in some cases impossible. Because of the severity of the consequences of a major violation, convictions should be avoided at all costs.
A common major violation is the missing of a rolling retest when the vehicle is running. This occurs when the notification or prompt for a retest is ignored or missed and the retest does not occur. This can be something as simple as having the car idling in a parking lot and not hearing the notification or prompt for a retest. A very common instance of this occurring is when someone leaves their vehicle running and steps away for a period of time, such as to let the car warm up in the winter or if they had to run back into the house for a minute to grab something. While this may seem unfair, the state views this as intentionally avoiding a retest because you were trying to not get caught with alcohol in your system.
Another type of major violation is the failing of a rolling retest. This occurs when the BAIID registers a blood alcohol content (BAC) of greater than 0.025 on two separate tests over a span of 5 minutes. While some of these violations are certainly the result of a person consuming alcohol while driving, more often than not they are a false positive. These false positives can be triggered by certain types of foods that naturally generate minute amounts of alcohol when being digested. This can be as innocent as consuming a sandwich with bread containing yeast while driving. In addition to false positives from food products, they can also be triggered by hygiene products such as mouthwash used before the individual leaves their house.
In Michigan, tampering with a BAIID device is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by a jail sentence of no more than 6 months and a fine of up to $5000. While there are certainly instances of wrongdoing that cause the devices electrical circumvention monitors to be triggered, there are other instances where this is not the fault of the user. These false triggers for tampering with the BAIID can be the result of an electrical failure on the vehicle or the device inadvertently being disconnected from the electrical system.
The most common circumstances leading to a circumvention violation is when a vehicle is brought in for service at an automotive repair facility and electricity is accidentally disconnected from the device during the course of the repair. This can be something as simple as the replacement of a battery or the disconnection of a battery required for certain types of repair services. Another circumstance that can cause a BAIID circumvention violation is unreliable wiring in older vehicles that causes intermittent electrical signals to the device. Any slight interruption in the electrical signal to the device can cause the device to go into its circumvention and tampering prevention provisions.
Unfortunately, in Michigan BAIID devices are not allowed to be disconnected for any reason whatsoever. This creates a massive headache for drivers who have done nothing wrong but happen to be unlucky. There are certain device service providers that provide a form to submit to a mechanic in order to document that work is being done on a vehicle. This way, in the event that the electrical circumvention detection is triggered, there is proof that the vehicle was in the shop for service. Even with this form, a hearing may still be required at the Office of Administrative Hearings and Oversight to demonstrate that the vehicle was being repaired.
Defenses against Rolling Retests
While a missed or failed rolling retest, or even a failed initial start-up might seem like an insurmountable legal hurdle to overcome, there are options to defend against these violations. The strongest defense against these violations is proof of continued sobriety. When a violation occurs, the driver should get a laboratory 250 Level EtG test within 24 hours. These test results would then be submitted to the state in order to prove the drivers sobriety and corroborate their story surrounding the erroneous violation. In addition to EtG testing, providing letters to the court demonstrating continued sobriety can be of great help. The overall goal is to have as much information and documentation possible to present the Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight Board in order to prove your case.
Many people find preparing and gathering all the necessary information for a hearing to be a daunting task. Having an experienced attorney assist in the gathering of these supporting pieces of information and preparing for a hearing can be exceptionally helpful in ensuring that a hearing goes favorably for the accused. If you are facing charges for a ignition interlock device violation, please give us a call today (248) 348-0496 to find out how we can help you prevent further drivers license hardship.