Ignition Interlock - What is it?


Ignition Interlock Devices are small breath analyzers that check a driver’s breath for alcohol before letting the car’s engine start and during various intervals while driving.

After a DWI conviction, NC DMV places certain alcohol concentration restrictions on drivers. In addition, NC DMV also requires an ignition interlock for drivers whose licenses are restored following a conviction for DWI if: 

  • You had an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher; or
  • You were convicted of a second offense of DWI, which happened within seven years of the offense for which your license was revoked; or
  • You were sentenced to an Aggravated Level One DWI

Ignition interlock devices restrictions can be troublesome for drivers. Such a restriction requires:

  • You may only operate a vehicle that is equipped with an ignition interlock
  • You must personally activate the ignition interlock system before driving the motor vehicle
  • You must contain an alcohol concentration restriction of either .04 or .00

How long you are required to have an ignition interlock device in your vehicle depends on how long your original revocation for DWI was. For example, if you were revoked for one year, then you must have an ignition interlock for one year from the date of restoration of your license.

If you are required to have the device installed, you must pay all fees associated with its installation, maintenance and service, which are considered a condition of having your drivers license. Fees associated with ignition interlock are generally only a couple dollars a day, but that can add up quickly and cost you around $1,000.00 a year. This cost is in addition to any fines or penalties you are already required to pay as a result of your conviction.

Violating an ignition interlock restriction means that you can be charged with Driving While License Revoked for Impaired Revocation, which is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. A charge of DWLR based on an ignition interlock violation results in your license being suspended pending the resolution of the case.

If you have received a DWI and may be at risk for having an ignition interlock, call 919-585-1486 to make an appointment to speak with one of our attorneys, or stop by the office during regular business hours. You can also reach us directly via e-mail at wiley@wileynickel.com or Kristi@wileynickel.com to schedule an appointment whenever works best for you.


Wiley Nickel

Wiley Nickel lives and works in Cary, North Carolina. In 1998, he graduated from Tulane University with a major in Political Science and a minor in History. After college Wiley went to work for Al Gore and travelled with the Vice President as part of his national advance staff. Following the Gore campaign he earned his law degree from the Pepperdine University School of Law in 2005. While in law school Wiley worked as a law clerk in the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office where he gained valuable criminal trial experience before taking and passing the California bar exam. His first job out of law school was for the Merced County District Attorney’s Office where he worked as a Deputy District Attorney with a focus on prosecuting DWI offenders. Wiley later joined the Law Offices of Joseph Uremovic where he focused on civil litigation and family law. When the opportunity came to join the Obama campaign in 2008 Wiley jumped at the chance. He spent three years travelling with President Obama as a member of his national advance team. In 2011 Wiley left his work for the White House to return to the practice of law. Wiley devotes the majority of his practice to the areas of criminal law, family law, traffic tickets and DMV issues. The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel was started with the goal of providing the best representation possible for all of his clients. Experienced, Compassionate, Aggressive Criminal Defense While defense attorney Wiley Nickel works as the primary attorney for all of his cases, he does have an associate attorney, a team of investigators, forensic consultants, and support staff to call on to help achieve the best possible result in every case. He limits his case load so that he can focus on providing the best possible legal defense to all of his clients. Every case is a top priority and the goal is to have your case dismissed with a focus on being able to expunge your charges at the end of the process. When he is not working, Wiley is an avid family man, distance runner and golfer. He loves North Carolina college sports and is hoping this is the year for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Wiley is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and California.