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New York’s Ignition Interlock Program

The ignition interlock device is connected to a motor vehicle ignition system and measures the alcohol content of the driver’s breath. To start the vehicle, the driver must provide an acceptable breath sample. The ignition interlock device must remain in the vehicle for at least 12 months, unless otherwise permitted by the court.

The restriction on the driver’s license that requires installation of the ignition interlock restriction applies even if the license is revoked. You can find the restriction written as “interlock device” on the back of the driver’s license. Under VTL1193.1 (c)(iii), if the defendant does not own a vehicle, he or she is still prohibited from operating a motor vehicle without the IID.

Courts and probation departments will direct convicted motorists to vendors for ignition interlock installation. The NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services website maintains a list of approved vendors to install and maintain the ignition interlock device.

When required by a conviction, the ignition interlock device must be purchased and installed at the driver’s expense. To remove the ignition interlock restriction from the driver license, the monitor will provide a form which must be completed the state that verifies that the person is no longer required to install and maintain the device. The form must be given to a local DMV office where a new driver’s license can be obtained that does not contain the restriction.

Leandra’s Law on Interlock Devices

On November 18, 2009, Leandra’s Law made several changes to the Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) related to the ignition interlock device and increased penalties for drinking and driving. Under VTL 1193.1(c), the law requires ignition of the IID for the following felony or misdemeanor convictions:

  • VTL 1192.3 DWI
  • VTL 1192.2 BAC of.08 or greater; 
  • VTL 1192.2-a (a) or (b) Aggravated DWI
  • any crime defined by … the penal law of which an alcohol-related violation of any provision of section eleven hundred ninety-two of this article is an essential element.

The IID requirement applies to even a first DWI offense. The conviction triggers an “ignition interlock” restriction being added to the driver license.

The driver may be qualified to hold a conditional license during the time an interlock device is in use. The conditional driver license will be revoked if the driver does not comply with the court terms or for conviction of any traffic offense except parking, stopping or standing.

A conviction for Aggravated DWI or DWI with a Child Passenger in the Vehicle based solely on a charge of 1192.4 DWAI Drugs when no alcohol is involved still requires the IID condition.

Aggravated DWI in New York State

Leandra’s law also established the crime of Aggravated DWI as a new Class E Felony. Aggravated DWI requires proof of driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .18 or more (which is double the legal limit of .08).

Any driver convicted of a Aggravated DWI offense or any repeat alcohol or drug offense within five years, must install the ignition interlock device on each vehicle owned or operated by the driver during both the revocation period and any probation period that follows. Also, the driver convicted of any Aggravated DWI offense must also undergo an alcohol assessment for the repeat offender.

DWI with a Child Passenger in Vehicle

Leandra’s Law also prohibited any person shall operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs while a child who is 15 years of age or younger is a passenger in the vehicle.

IID is Not Required for DWAI

The Ignition Interlock requirement is not required for a DWAI conviction under VTL 1192.1 DWAI, VTL 1192.4 DWAI Drugs; or VTL 1192.4-a DWAI Drugs & Alcohol. Additionally, the IID restriction does not apply to any alcohol convictions under the Conservation Law, Environmental Law, or the Navigation Law other than the Penal or Vehicle & Traffic Law.


Additional Resources:

Ignition Interlock Devices in New York State – Visit the DMV website to find more information about Leandra’s Law which requires the installation of an ignition interlock device for certain types of convictions.

Forms for Ignition Interlock Device Manufacturers and Vendors – Visit the website of the Division of Criminal Justice Service in New York State to find more information on the Ignition Interlock Requirements in Chapter 496. The device records the number of times the automobile was started or attempted to be started, the driver’s BAC at the time an attempt was made to start the car, and the duration the automobile was driven during the monitoring period. Also find forms, regulations, laws, and manufacturers. The website also has a list of approved vendors to install and maintain the ignition interlock device.

Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Ignition Interlock – Visit the website fo the New York Courts to find information on the court’s obligations in sentencing, financial disclosure and determination of the ability to afford the IID.


This article was last updated on Friday, May 27, 2016.

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