Monday, June 18, 2012

Ithaca Lawyer Discusses Warnings and Precautions About New York Ignition Interlock Devices

As a DWI defense lawyer practicing in the Finger Lakes I see a great many clients who eventually require an ignition interlock installed in their cars. Leandra's Law is real, it is here, and it is enforced Statewide. What you (or your lawyer) don't know can and will hurt you.

IID BASICS or the Most Common FAQs

1. Is an IID a Must or a Should have?

The IID is not discretionary for NYS DWIs, it is Mandatory since August, 2010.
The Judges and the District Attorneys have no leeway or power here, if is a DWI (VTL 1192 (2), VTL 1192 (3), or ADWI (VTL 1192 (a) (a) then a device MUST be installed within 10 days of sentencing.
Bottom Line: There is NO plea bargaining concerning IIDs.

2. What if I live in another state?

It does not matter if you live in NYS or someplace else, you will have to get it installed. So if you live in PA, TX, or CA expect to hunt down an IID provider location, and then they will report back to the county monitor in NYS every 30 days. many of these IID providers have National Support. If you plan on moving (relocating) then plan on continuing monitoring as well. As long as the County Monitor is kept informed and updated it should not be a problem. The device must be downloaded at a physical location every 30 days.
Download times run 5 to 15 minutes. Some places can come out to your car with a handheld downloader.

I have not had the issue with "Out of the Country" (Foreign) License Holders unless they desired NYS privileges. My Canadian Clients end up with far worse consequences from their own country.

3. Could you just say (tell the Court) that you don't have (own) a car?

You could but it is still on your NYS DMV record, a hold will be in place by the county monitor (will be seen in any other state). With this new thing called the internet, and a National Registry of licenses:

When you apply for a license or renew an existing license then they will run your record. If it shows up with a serious driving offense, like a DWI or DUI then the system is alerted. Your license (or driving privilege) in NYS will remain revoked UNTIL it is lifted by the County IID Monitor. If you choose NOT to comply with the NYS Court Ordered IID then other states will not give you (or renew) driving privileges either.

All Motor Vehicle Associations must check you under Federal Law 23 CFR 1327.5(b)(1).

4. What if You really don't Own a car?

It still remains on your NYS record, and the National Database as a revoked privilege/license. I have had clients have to borrow or buy cars to fulfill the Court obligation. They had a rental car, and were merely visiting NYS when they received a DWI. A Court Order is a Mandatory Obligation. It cannot be argued that you are in an unreasonable situation. In fact, a North Carolina client had to figure a way to get their car to a state with IID providers because North Carolina has none.  When I spoke to NYS DMV they just shrugged it off, not a perfect law by any stretch of the imagination. It has a great many issues with practical application in a day and age where people frequently travel, relocate, and are city dwellers.

5. Can it be installed prior to the Court's sentencing?

You "may" be able to get it installed BUT most places (providers) will NOT install it without the Court documents/final Court Order.

6. Are there differences between the units (IIDs)?

For sentences of a CD (Conditional Discharge) which is lieu of Probation and/or Jail, the Tompkins County Monitor has only been requiring a Class I (lowest level device). This one is the least expensive, and has NO camera. Higher level and naturally more costly devices have cameras to take your picture when blowing.

In Tompkins County, Probation sentences require the Class 3 device (with Camera) for the three year probation term.

7. Where Can I get one (an IID) in Tompkins County?

 In Tompkins County we have three main providers:

1. Route 366 and Route 13 next to AAA Motor Club, Autowerks (carries Smartstart IID vendor)
2. Highway Hi Fi, on Route 13 across from Papa John's Pizza Plaza.
3. Hunt's Auto service, Intoxalock Vendor, a little across from Tompkins Trust off Route 13.

Smart start was offering a free install, as an incentive, But I prefer the Intoxalock to avoid problems with the device's operation.

8. How do I get One installed?

You just call and say you need an IID, they will schedule you. Bring the final Court Order. Takes about an hour or less to install. Camera IIDs take longer because of the camera placement.

9. What else Must I do when installing the IID?

You must contact the County Monitor within 3 days of sentencing. It may be a different person if you are on a term of Probation versus receiving a CD (Conditional Discharge). Generally the minimum term for the device is 6 months, but some Judges place it on for 12 months or longer, even for a CD. All misdemeanor Probation terms are for three years.

The contact name and number for the Tompkins county IID monitor:

Michelle Barber:             Phone: 607-274-5461
Fax:  607-274-5429

10. What Should I be aware of when installing the IID?

My Warnings: 

                           1. If the car that is getting the install has issues (mechanical and/or electrical) with the following it "can" affect the function of the device:

low battery
alternator voltage
defective horn
untimed engine
frequent stalling

Check the car out throughly before it gets this device installed. People that do not (screen and fix) or place it upon a junker are not usually happy because the device will malfunction. This can then provide the monitor with false readings of intoxication.

                           2. Do not drink the night before you drive, or else the device may be triggered from alcohol still in your system (body). 

WARNING: A BAC of .05 is an automatic Serious Violation/Failure that will require a Court Appearance.

                           3. Do not use cologne, perfume, mouth wash, toothpaste, mints while in the car or with anything that could trigger the device

11. How is the device set up and used?

The unit is calibrated for up to .25 BAC before it triggers but that said I would not rely upon that as a number because your body naturally produces some alcohol.

-the unit will demand a start up test
-then an initial rolling test (within a random interval ranging from 5 - 15 minutes) 
-subsequent rolling tests, not to exceed 30 minutes

They will (the installer) give you more information, these are merely some highlights. 

12. What if I am in found in Violation?

A violation of a CD will result in your being re-sentenced by the Court. The matter can be re-opened, you can receive jail time, you can receive three years of probation, you can receive a longer term for the IID to be in place.

Law Offices of Lawrence Newman

Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., Esq.

Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law

504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850


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