Is It Illegal to Tamper with an Ignition Interlock Device?

In Arizona, if you're convicted of a DUI offense, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle. The IID works by attaching to your car's ignition and not allowing it to start unless a breath sample you give is free of alcohol.

What if the IID malfunctions, and it's displaying incorrect results? Are you allowed to try to fix the machine yourself? Only an authorized ignition interlock service provider or agent can remove or adjust the device. If you tamper with it, you could be facing criminal charges.

What Does Arizona's Law Prohibit Regarding Ignition Interlock Devices?

As mentioned earlier, if you try to fix or correct an IID error on your own, you could be penalized. However, these actions aren't the only ones illegal under Arizona law.

You or another person could face criminal charges for doing any of the following:

  • Lending out a non-IID vehicle: If you are required to have an ignition interlock device on vehicles you drive, another individual, be it your friend or a company, cannot knowingly allow you to borrow their car unless it has a certified IID installed in it. However, an exception is if you need the car for a "substantial emergency."
  • Not letting others know of your IID requirements: This doesn't mean that you have to tell everyone you encounter you must have an IID on vehicles you drive. Rather, if you're going to borrow or rent a car from someone, you must notify them of your IID requirements.
  • Allowing others to breathe into the IID: When you are required to have an IID on your car, you must be the one to blow into the device. If you let someone else do this for you to get your vehicle started, you're violating the law.
  • Breathing into an IID for someone else: Just as it's a crime for you to allow another person to blow into the IID for you, it's also unlawful for that person to carry out the action. This means not only will you get in trouble but the person helping you may also be penalized.
  • Tampering with an IID: This applies to both you and any other person who tries to fix or remove an IID.
  • Driving a car without an IID: When you are required to have an ignition interlock device, this goes for any vehicle you attempt to operate it. Your friend might not be subject to this requirement, but that doesn't mean because they don't have the device in their car, you’re free to drive it that way. Any vehicle you operate must have a functioning IID on it. The only time this doesn't apply is if you have a “substantial emergency.”

The law defines a substantial emergency as one in which a person other than the individual required to have an IID cannot drive in an emergency.

What Are the Penalties for an IID Violation?

If you or anyone else engages in conduct prohibited by the IID law, you could be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor. A conviction carries with it up to 6 months in jail. Additionally, some offenses could also result in an extension of the IID requirement for up to 1 year.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI offense in Yuma, discuss your case during a free consultation with Bowman, Smith & Kallen by calling us at (928) 433-2355 or contacting us online.