I Was Not Asked To Install An Ignition Interlock Device As A Condition Of My Bond. Why Is My Attorney Advising Me To Do So?
Ever since I started representing people charged with driving while intoxicated, I have recommended that they do voluntary counseling and community service upfront. Almost everyone who gets convicted of driving while intoxicated and placed on probation is ordered to do counseling and community service. By doing these upfronts, we find ourselves in a stronger negotiating position and it gives us the ammunition we need in trying to negotiate a dismissal of the DWI. One of the recent trends, in addition to counseling and community service, is the requirement to install an ignition interlock device.
Rather than waiting for a conviction, we are now advising our clients to install these devices voluntarily. Oftentimes, the prosecutor will agree to reduce the case from a DWI to a non-DWI offense, like reckless driving or obstruction of passageway, if the defendant will install an ignition interlock device in their car and maintain it for a period of time without any violations. Rather than waiting until the day before the trial to get this offer, we like to come to the negotiating table with this ammunition in hand.
It may take up to a year before a case actually goes to a trial. If the case has been proceeding in court for a year and then on the eve of trial, the prosecutor makes an offer that they will reduce the DWI charge after the defendant installs the ignition interlock device and maintains it for six months, it’s going to take you another six months to resolve the case. If you do it voluntarily, then we won’t have to wait that time in order to get the dismissal. A lot of times, my clients have trouble maintaining their sobriety and fail to blow cleanly into the device for that period of time. They may need additional counseling, coaching, or adjustments in behaviors and actions. If we do this voluntarily upfront, then we get to know and identify any issues before it’s too late.
The legislature recently changed the law so that if you are convicted of a DWI, you may still be eligible to get the case sealed if you have no other criminal history. You have to wait for a certain number of years, unless you have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, as a condition of probation, for six months. If we end up going to trial and getting convicted, and the judge orders probation, we can try to get you credit for the six months that you already had the device installed voluntarily. This would make you eligible to get your record sealed three years earlier than if you did not have the device.
A lot of times, people get ordered to install the device after blood results come in. If we have a client who has already voluntarily installed the device before he has been ordered to do so by the judge, then we can demonstrate to the judge that there have been no violations. We may even be able to talk the judge out of requiring the installation of the device as a condition of the bond at that point.
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