Otherwise known as ignition interlock or in-car breathalyzer, the interlock is a testing device that is installed in your vehicle to measure the amount of alcohol in your system before you are allowed to drive.
Under North Carolina General Statute § 20-179.3(b), a person convicted of the offense of impaired driving under N.C.G.S. 20-138.1 is eligible for a limited driving privilege if all of the following requirements are met:
- At the time of the offense the person held a valid driver’s license or a license that had been expired for less than one year.
- No other prior DWIs within the last seven years.
- Convicted of either a level three, four, or five impaired driving conviction.
- No prior pending DWI conviction.
- Filed with the court a substance abuse assessment for restoration of a driver’s license.
As part of that limited driving privilege, the judge can order (not typically required unless meet circumstances below) your motor vehicle to be equipped with a functioning “blow and go” or ignition interlock system.
When is the blow and go mandatory?
Under N.C.G.S. § 20-179.3(g5), ignition interlock is required if a person’s driver’s license is revoked for a conviction of impaired driving, and the person had an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more. Additionally, if you are convicted a DWI within seven years of a prior conviction for DWI, a blow and go is required. Further, if a person is sentenced at an Aggravated Level One sentence, they will also need a blow and go. In order to obtain a limited driving privilege, a judge will require:
- A restriction that the applicant may operate only a designated motor vehicle.
- That designated motor vehicle will be equipped with a functioning ignition interlock system of a type approved by the Commissioner, which is set to prohibit driving with an alcohol concentration of greater than 0.02.
- The applicant personally activates the ignition interlock system before driving the motor vehicle.
Effective June 1, 2022, a person who is ordered by a court, or required by statute, to install an ignition interlock system to lawfully operate a motor vehicle, but who is unable to afford the cost of an ignition interlock system, may apply to an authorized vendor for a waiver of a portion of the costs of an ignition interlock system. A person who applies for a waiver of the portion of the costs of an ignition interlock system shall provide the completed Vendor Interlock Hardship to an authorized vendor.
How long does the blow and go have to be in my car?
Under N.C.G.S. § 20-17.8, the length required is determinative on the term of suspension. If the original revocation period of the defendant’s driver’s license is one year than the blow and go will remain for a year. If the original revocation period is four years, then the blow and go will remain for three years. Lastly, if there is a permanent revocation of the defendant’s driver’s license, it will remain for seven years under North Carolina law.
Who are the blow and go providers?
Common providers include:
- Smart Start Inc.
- Monitech Inc.
- ALCOLOCK NC Inc.