>I keep hearing “Ignition Interlock,” what does it mean?


If your license has been suspended by the Washington State Department of Licensing for a DUI, an Ignition Interlock License (IIL) will allow you to continue driving for any reason, at any time. You are eligible regardless of whether you took a breath test and regardless of your breath test level. You are also eligible if you have a prior DUI arrest or conviction. You must have had a valid driver’s license when you were arrested. However, note that you are not eligible for this if you have a prior vehicular assault, vehicular homicide conviction, or if you are convicted of any drug DUI other than alcohol.

The main requirement for this license is an ignition interlock device on every vehicle that you will be driving, with the exception of work vehicles that you anticipate driving for the purpose of work and during the hours of work. Imagine a device that simply functions as a second “key” used to start your car. This “key” is a handheld breathalyzer that will be attached to your car’s ignition system. It will look like a cell phone with a long coiled cord beneath your dashboard. Do not worry about the installation of this device–it will not damage your battery or electrical system or interfere with the normal operation of your vehicle.

To receive an IIL you must apply with the Washington State Department of Licensing (www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/iil.html). There is a $100 fee for the application as well as a monthly fee of $20 to help fund indigent citizens.

You will also need SR-22 Insurance. It is generally required by the court when you have DUI/DWI violations, license suspension, repeat traffic offenses, an at-fault accident, or when you have been caught driving without insurance (http://www.progressive.com/shop/sr-22/aspx). For a DUI, be prepared to have SR-22 for three years.

To apply for SR-22 insurance you should get a quote from your own insurance company. If they do not sell it, you may want to check with Progressive (www.Progressive.com), Vern Fonk (www.VernFonk.com), or Serenity Insurance (www.serenitygroup.com).