Confusion Surrounds Arizona Six-Month
Deferment Ignition Interlock Program
By Barry Saunders
Arizona passed stringent Ignition Interlock legislation in September of 2008 requiring all convicted DUI offenders to place an Ignition Interlock system on their vehicle in order to reinstate driving privileges. The minimum mandate for first-time offenders was one year. In late 2010 The Arizona Licensed Beverage Association, Inc.(ALBA) lobbied for a change of the Arizona law, stating it was too strict and overbearing for those people who have never had a DUI. The Managing Member of QuickStart Ignition Interlock says“The liquor industry promotes No Drinking and Driving yet it was in the best interest of the liquor industry to loosen the ignition interlock laws. I believe these two stances are contradictory. Furthermore, proponents of the bill were telling media sources there would be language in the bill that would increase the amount of drug and alcohol counseling mandated. I am a proponent of this however the final version of the legislation contained no such language.”In April of 2011 Governor Jan Brewer signed off on Arizona Senate Bill 1200 (SB 1200).
Since that time there has been a lot of confusion about the impact the bill has on the ignition interlock program and hence DUI offenders. Previous to SB 1200, convicted first-time offender was required to equip their vehicle with an ignition interlock device for a minimum of one year. The Senate bill defers six months of the one-year mandate for those who meet certain criteria set forth by the legislation. This is where many people lack the facts of how SB 1200 impacts them.
SB 1200 ignition interlock program change only impacts DUI offenders who “Received” their DUI citation on or after January 1st of 2012. The conviction date does not matter. Therefore, a DUI citation that was issued on New Year's Eve of 2011 might be subject to a different ignition interlock program than a DUI citation that took place on New Year’s Day 2012.
Should the DUI meet the following criteria, it will fall under the six-month deferment program.
- Citation was issued on or after January 1st of 2012
- The DUI was a first-time offense and was NOT an Extreme DUI conviction(Blood or Breath Alcohol content was not over .149)
- The DUI offender was not in an accident or did not cause any property damage.
- There were no minors in the vehicle
- The offender completes at least 16 hours of drug and alcohol counseling
- They do not violate the rules of the Ignition Interlock Program set forth by the MVD.
If the offender does not meet the criteria set forth above they will not be eligible for the six-month deferment from the Motor Vehicle Division. Many attorneys pushed their clients’ cases out into 2012 hoping to drive legislation which changes the language of the law from “Citation” to “Conviction”. An Arizona House bill was drafted and passed in the house but later died in a Senate Committee. QuickStart Ignition Interlock, a certified Ignition Interlock system provider in the state of Arizona, has been active in educating the public on how the new law might impact them. More details on SB 1200 and other DUI related laws can be found athttp://www.azleg.state.az.us/ArizonaRevisedStatutes.asp?Title=28 or at www.quickstartaz.com