Myths about Interlocks

Common Myths about Ignition Interlock Systems

“An Ignition Interlock System violates your Constitutional Rights.”

False. Driving has been interpreted by the courts as a privilege, not a right. When you are convicted of a DUI you lose that privilege. The intent of the legislation is to allow you to regain that privilege in lieu of suspension through the use of an ignition interlock device.

“You can prevent the ignition interlock from detecting alcohol by using mouthwash.”

False. Mouthwash or breath spray will not conceal the presence of alcohol. In fact, these products may do you a disservice because they can contain up to 30% alcohol. As a result, it is possible for mouthwash or breath spray to register a “false positive” for individuals who have not consumed any alcoholic beverages.

“The ignition interlock drivers license restriction designation can never be deleted from the front of my drivers license.”

False. You can have the ignition interlock restriction code “P” removed from the front of your drivers license upon the expiration of time that the device was ordered by the Court. This task can easily be accomplished at any Florida Drivers License Office. However, as long as the code “P” restriction remains on the front of your license, you will be subject to arrest for the offense of “violation of drivers license restriction” should a law enforcement officer observe you to operate a motor vehicle that is not properly equipped with an approved interlock device. For a list of all Pinellas County Drivers License Office locations, along with their phone numbers and hours of operation click here.

“If your engine stalls, you must resubmit another breath sample to re-start your vehicle.”

False. If your vehicle stalls, a sample-free start (or grace period) is offered to allow you to to restart the engine within a period of up to three minutes.

“If the ignition interlock device fails, you will not be able to start and move your vehicle.”

False. There is an emergency over-ride feature in which the driver calls the service provider to learn how to activate the emergency “over-ride” or “by-pass” function. Utilization of this “one-time only” feature allows the vehicle to be started without the need for a breath sample. The vehicle can then be driven to a service center for repair or replacement of the ignition interlock device.

“If you have been drinking alcohol, you can circumvent the ignition interlock by having a friend or relative blow into the device to get the vehicle started.”

False. In Florida, all ignition interlocks incorporate a camera that snaps an image of the person who is blowing into the device. Smart Start™ self-assuredly refers to this feature as their “Photo ID” module. These miniature cameras are mounted on the inside of the windshield on the driver’s side and are designed to work under any lighting conditions. Keep in mind, that subsequent “rolling tests” are always required and the camera takes a photo each and every time a breath sample is submitted. Each photo is temporarily stored and downloaded monthly along with all other data.

“Once the ignition interlock is installed on my car, no one else will be permitted to operate that vehicle.”

False. After the installation of an interlock device, any licensed motorist may lawfully operate your vehicle. Unfortunately, they too will be required to blow into the device. However, only you will be required to answer to any violations.

DUI or Ticket?

DUI or Ticket?


Getting Attorney Assistance

Caught driving in Pinellas County without an interlock? We can help!

Our office represents a large number of clients who come to us charged with a “violation of their drivers license restriction.”

In some cases, we are able to avoid convictions for this offense through plea negotiations with the State Attorney’s Office. There are other times when we can raise defenses associated with the illegality of the initial traffic stop of our client’s vehicle. Even in the worst of circumstances, we might urge the Judge to impose a particular sentence, but at the same time, “withhold the formal adjudication of guilt,” that would otherwise cause your restricted license to become revoked.

We can discuss the facts of your case and the options you may have. Our office understands that the primary objective of most clients is for their attorney to make every effort to secure the best final outcome in their court case.  Let us help seek a sentence that will not jeopardize employment and allow your continued lawful operation of a motor vehicle.

Tim Sullivan & Marc Pelletier
Attorneys at Law
About Us

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(727) 578-0303

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St. Petersburg Office Location:

Corner of 9th Street N. and Gandy Blvd.
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St. Petersburg, FL 33702   map

Consultations also Available at:
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The Summit Building
Clearwater, Florida 33760