Call us 24/7: (515) 279-9700

Ignition Interlock Device

If you have been convicted of operating while intoxicated, or OWI, in Iowa, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device for a period of time. An ignition interlock device is connected to the electrical system of your vehicle and prevents the car from starting until your blood alcohol content, tested via your breath, is below a certain limit.

The defendant is required to pay for installation and continued fees for the ignition device. Additionally, the defendant may be restricted in the use of his car to only go to work or substance abuse classes related to the OWI conviction. Although the ignition interlock device can be extremely restrictive, it may be a better option to the outright revocation of all driving privileges.

Iowa OWI Ignition Interlock Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested for drinking and driving, contact an Iowa OWI defense attorney at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. Attorneys Tim McCarthy, Aaron Hamrock, and Rob Larson specialize in OWI defense, and can advise you on the details of a restricted driver’s license in Iowa, including fees, insurance requirements and limitations on driving.

For some people, the ignition interlock device is a requirement, but for others it may be a better option than having your license revoked outright.
The professionals at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. will fight for you until the very end using every possible option.

Call us today if you have been arrested for OWI in Des Moines or surrounding areas including Polk County, Dallas County, Warren County, Madison County, and Guthrie County. Call (515) 279-9700 to discuss the best possible outcomes for you.


Information About Ignition Interlock Devices


Back to Top

Ignition Interlock Devices

An ignition interlock device is directly connected to the electrical system in your car and will prevent the car from starting until a blood alcohol content under a certain limit is blown (greater than 0.025 grams per 210 liters of breath). The device must be installed and paid for at the defendant’s expense. The four private companies Iowa has approved to install interlock devices include:

The fee to install an ignition interlock device ranges from $50 to $200 and there is also a monthly rental fee anywhere that can cost from $50 to $100. The interlock device may require maintenance expenses as well as fees to download the data from the device. There will be scheduled times you must have your device recalibrated to maintain the integrity of the device.


Back to Top

When an Ignition Interlock Must Be Installed

An ignition interlock device may be a requirement of a temporary restricted license, a condition of a deferred sentence or a requirement following the revocation of an individual’s license for OWI for a certain period.

Offense LevelBAC LevelPeriod of RevocationIgnition Interlock Required? 
First offenseBAC of 0.08 or more180 daysYes
Car accidentIf a car accident occurred while the defendant had a BAC over 0.08, an ignition interlock device is required.
Personal injuryIf the defendant caused personal injury to another person in a car accident while operating a vehicle with a BAC over 0.08, the defendant will have their license suspended for one year in addition to the original period of revocation. The individual may apply for a temporary restricted license when otherwise permitted by the period of the other revocation. An ignition interlock device must be installed on all vehicles operated for a first OWI offense to be eligible for a temporary restricted license.
HomicideIf the defendant caused a homicide in a car accident while operating a vehicle with a BAC over o.08, the defendant will have their license revoked for six years and must wait two years before a temporary license is granted.
Under 21If the person is under the age of 21 with a BAC above 0.08, they are ineligible for a temporary restricted license if their offense occurred under Iowa Code section 321J.2A.
Under 18A person under 18 who was arrested for a BAC greater than 0.08 is not eligible for a temporary license.
Second offenseBAC of 0.08 and aboveOne yearYes
Third offenseBAC of 0.08 and aboveSix yearsYes

Back to Top

Administrative Hearings for Revocation of License

The administrative revocation of your license is independent of the criminal charges brought against you and must be fought in administrative hearings. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. can represent you in these hearings, but a timely response is required. You have only 10 days to contest the revocation of your license. Learn more about these administrative hearings on our page, OWI Administrative Revocation in Iowa.


Back to Top

Tampering with an Ignition Interlock Device

It is illegal to tamper or bypass an interlock ignition device.  Tampering is defined as the attempted or successful circumvention of the proper functioning of an IID including, disabling, disconnecting, or altering an IID.

Bypassing the device could include the introduction of a breath sample into an IID other than a non-filtered direct breath sample from the driver of the vehicle to defeat the intended purpose of the IID. For example, having a passenger blow into the device would be a form of bypassing it.

The penalty for tampering with an ignition interlock device is a serious misdemeanor punishable by no more than 1 year in jail and a fine ranging from $430 to $2,560.


Back to Top

Experienced OWI Defense Attorneys in West Des Moines

McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. has more than four decades of combined legal practice, and much of that has been specializing in defending those accused of OWI, or intoxicated driving. We know the ropes of the justice system and how to fight on two fronts: administratively for your license privileges and criminally for the OWI conviction. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. is known as tough, smart, and diligent.

Call us at (515) 279-9700 to schedule a free consultation. Each client has a different set of circumstances in their case, from the justification of the stop to the validity of the evidence. We can answer your questions and let you know your options. Call us as soon as possible to discuss your license revocation as you have only 10 days after your arrest to schedule an administrative hearing.

We have successfully represented clients across Greater Des Moines, West Des Moines, Polk County, Dallas County, Warren County, Madison County, and Guthrie County.