Home > Finding an attorney in Waukesha County > Drunk Driving: Ignition Interlock in Wisconsin a Mistake

Drunk Driving: Ignition Interlock in Wisconsin a Mistake

Ignition interlock is the latest atrocity thrust upon us by the legislature in an attempt to solve a real problem in Wisconsin, Drunk Driving. Let’s face it, we are national leaders in this area. Until there is a true cultural change in Wisconsin, our highways will remain killing fields. 

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Residents of the Badger state presume a birthright of imbibing alcohol to their hearts’ content with cheap and plentiful beer being protected in our constitution. Any town large enough to have a four corners is likely to have either a church or a convenience store and three taverns.

So it makes sense to use any means necessary to get drunk drivers off the road, right? Wrong. Ignition interlock has created a cottage industry in Wisconsin of providers. Industry is good. However, contrary to popular belief, these systems are capable of doing more harm than good. We all know that the driver has to blow before starting the car. What many don’t know is that the driver is forced to blow while driving the car. Texting while driving is much safer than this and it’s illegal.

There are other concerns.  IID can cost you your job if you work in a field that requires that you transport clients. Lastly, unless the Court grants you an exemption, your spouse might be forced to have one of these devices which bears a high price tag in her car too.

In the IID will not be cost effective. The law was poorly drafted and leaves a hole big enough to drive a Mack Truck through for us defense lawyers. IID is only imposed in the case of first time offenders if they refuse the test or if their measured PAC is in excess of .15.  It is worth it for defendants to litigate this issue.  Milwaukee County courts are already feeling the crunch of the many first offense cases going to trial on the issue of IID only. I like making money as much as the next guy, but this not a good way to spend tax dollars.

Limit the requirement to repeat offenders if necessary. Studies have shown some success in other states.  But let’s repeal this law as to first offense owi’s.

Have a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season.

  1. IID is OK with me
    December 14, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    The goal of the IID is to promote on-the-spot accountability while affording some measure of protection from intoxicated drivers to the general populace. While this “atrocity” isn’t ideal, it is a tool designed to prevent intoxicated drivers from getting behind the wheel. It isn’t a personal affront, and driving is a privilege, not a right.

    That said, texting while driving is never safe, and it seems irresponsible to infer that it is. Texting isn’t comparable to an IID since texting is a constant distraction that a person deliberately chooses to engage in, knowing that it is against the law. While there are many reported instances of accidents and deaths caused by inattentive driving due to texting, I can’t recall any reported accidents caused by inattentive driving due to use of an IID.

    If you don’t want to have an atrocious IID in your car, choose not to drink and drive. Likewise, if you don’t want to lose your job because it requires transporting clients, choose not to drink and drive. If you can’t make that choice on your own, help is available to anyone that wants it.

    The bottom line is that an OWI conviction is serious and needs to be addressed in a serious manner. Until a better idea is proposed, IID provides a way for offenders to continue to enjoy the privilege of driving while affording a measure of protection to other drivers and pedestrians.

    • December 14, 2011 at 4:26 pm

      Thank you for your insightful comments. I was not implying that texting and driving is safe, merely that the distraction of blowing while driving is similarly unsafe. I believe we will have to agree to disagree as to the value of IID, but as a defense lawyer who has participated in local attempts to curb drunk driving on a systemic level, I recognize the concerns you raise. Once again thank you for your response.


  2. March 8, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I agree that blowing while driving is similarly unsafe, I just thought that it was something that you blew on befor the car would start. Either way I understand that if you’re going to drink and drive you shoul be aware of the consequences. You should also be aware, however, of your rights and know what you are required to agree to and what you are not, so that if you do get pulled over you represent yourself the best you can.

    • March 8, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      Good point. If one stands accused of Drunk Driving he or she needs all of the facts. I would not under any circumstances suggest that someone represent himself. After an arrest, find a skilled DUI lawyer who can advise you and help develop a viable strategy. Thanks for your comment.

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