New TN Ignition Interlock Device Laws–Part 3

Part 3: Discretionary Tennessee Ignition Interlock Device

In addition to the mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) requirements for certain DUI 1st Offense convictions as well as offenders with prior DUI convictions, Tennessee judges have the discretion to order the installation of an IID as a condition for any Tennessee DUI conviction.  Interestingly, if a judge orders the installation of an ignition interlock device at his or her own discretion, as opposed a situation where the IID is specifically required by Tennessee law, the defendant may be required to have the device installed for a longer period of time.  For instance, when mandated by Tennessee law for a DUI 1st offense conviction, as discussed in Part 1 of this series, the IID may only be ordered for the length of the Tennessee driver’s license revocation.  However, when ordered purely at the discretion of the judge, the ignition interlock device may be ordered to remain on the defendant’s vehicle for any period of time up to 1 year after the expiration of the Tennessee driver’s license revocation period.

Any Tennessee defendant who is eligible for a DUI-related restricted Tennessee driver’s license may also request an ignition interlock device.  If a defendant requests an IID, at his or her own expense, the person would be able to drive without geographic restrictions (i.e. to and from work, school, place of worship, etc.) during the driver’s license revocation period.   In this circumstance, a judge may not extend the required period of the ignition interlock device beyond the Tennessee driver’s license revocation period.  If required by Tennessee law to have an IID installed, a defendant is eligible to have the costs paid from the Interlock Assistance Fund. However, it is important to note that Tennessee law does not allow for monetary assistance for indigent defendants who are not ordered to install an IID, but opt for such installation of their own accord.

If you have any additional questions or concerns about the new Tennessee DUI laws, please feel free to contact Steve or Sara at The Oberman & Rice law firm by calling (865) 249-7200.

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  1. #1 by Alison - August 30th, 2011 at 18:55

    I was ordered to get an interlock device installed in order to obtain a restricted licence. My transmission went dead and I live with my parents so I had just planned on not driving for a year. If I choose to do that will I still have to have it for a certain period of time even when I am eligible to get my regular licence? Will that restrict me from obtaining my regular licence in a year?

  2. #2 by admin - September 20th, 2011 at 08:59

    Allison, thank you for your post. If you were ordered to install an ignition interlock device (IID) as a result of an “enhanced” Tennessee DUI conviction, you should have no issues having your license reinstated after the expiration of your revocation period. The IID is required only as part of the restricted driver’s license. Accordingly, you are permitted to have it removed as long as you are not operating any motor vehicle. Please be advised that under certain circumstances, you may be required to have an IID installed once your license is reinstated (with your “regular” license). I suggest you contact the Tennessee Department of Safety to learn if you will be subject to this requirement. Good Luck!

  3. #3 by vinny marrero - November 13th, 2012 at 16:52

    What if I drive for a living (Company Truck). Does THAT vehicle have to have an interlocking device also or just my personal car? I live in davidson county…

  4. #4 by Sara Compher-Rice - November 13th, 2012 at 17:45

    Depending upon the facts of your case and the details of the Court Order, you may be required to install an IID on your company vehicle. There are some exceptions to this requirement if pre-approved by the court and if specific procedures are followed. I suggest you consult with your attorney to determine if you fall within the exception.

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  6. #6 by Steve Oberman - July 16th, 2014 at 04:50

    We suggest you contact your lawyer. He or she will have copies of all the relevant paperwork and court documents. Your lawyer will need to discuss this with a representative of the Tennessee Department of Safety and you may need to get a new physical license. We wish you the best of luck.

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