If you’re convicted of driving while intoxicated in New York, you’ll have to become familiar with an ignition interlock device (IID). Since 2009, New York has required drivers convicted of DWI to install an IID in any vehicles they own or operate. At sentencing, offenders have to provide information about any vehicles they own or else verify that they own no vehicle. The IID will cost you money, although financial assistance is available for low-income drivers by filing a “financial disclosure report” through New York’s Division of Criminal Justice Services. Of course, if you’re charged with DWI, you want to avoid being convicted if that’s possible. If you face a DWI charge anywhere in the Long Island or New York City area, get legal help immediately by consulting with an experienced Long Island DWI attorney.

IIDs are intended to prevent alcohol-impaired driving. If an IID detects what it takes to be alcohol on a driver’s breath, the vehicle will not start. The IID transmits information to the IID provider, and it’s then turned over to probation authorities. You could find yourself re-sentenced to probation or to jail.

LifeSafer, a company that installs and maintains IIDs, admits that regular, over-the-counter mouthwash can cause a breath test failure with some of the devices. Mouthwash isn’t the only item that an IID can register as booze. Toothpastes, cough syrups, and even some food products can result in a false reading. To avoid this, always rinse your mouth with water before blowing into the device.

In the end, there’s probably no way that every risky driver can always, reliably be prevented from driving. An alternative and perhaps more worthwhile approach is to make every new car “DWI-proof.” DWI-proof cars have actually been in development since 2008, and the federal government believes that by 2020, these vehicles will be available for everyone. In June, the Department of Transportation put two “DWI-proofing” technologies on display for television and newspaper reporters. A “touch-based” system gauges a driver’s blood alcohol content level by scanning just under the skin of the driver’s fingers. A “breath-based” system basically fits a vehicle with interlock ignition device technology and requires a driver to “blow” before the vehicle will start.

Of course, the better way to avoid it is not to be charged with DWI in the first place. If you drive, don’t drink, and if you drink, designate a driver, call a taxi, or find another way. While there’s no doubt that technology can reduce traffic accident injuries and fatalities – seat belts and airbags prove that – the future isn’t here quite yet. If you’re charged with DWI anywhere in or near New York City, you’ll need to obtain the services of an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney immediately. A good DWI defense lawyer will help you gather evidence and witnesses, dispute test results, and work aggressively to bring your case to the best possible resolution. A Long Island DWI lawyer can help you get justice, but you must take the first step and make the call.