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.