In The News

In The News

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ignition Interlocking Device for Alcohol and Driving Related Offenses In Eaton County

By Michael Nichols
Categories: Drunk-Driving

Eaton County District Court Probation has a new “pilot” project that will affect anyone convicted of an alcohol and driving related offense. If, at the time of his/her substance abuse assessment, that person is found to have a alcohol-dependency problem, or that person’s blood-alcohol level was a 0.20 or more at the time of the offense, he/she will be ordered to have a Ignition Interlocking Device installed in their car, through the Smart Start Company.

The Ignition Interlocking Device is a breathlyzing machine, installed into a person’s car, where that person must blow into the device and register at 0.000, before the device will allow the car to be started. The ultimate goal is to ensure that the person driving that particular car, has not consumed any alcohol at all prior to its operation.

However, there are several steps that must be taken and costs that will be incurred. If a person is ordered to have the Ignition Interlocking Device installed, he/she will have to:

  • Setup an appointment with Smart Start and bring in the car that is to have the interlock put into it;
  • Smart Start techs install the interlocking device, while he/she is trained on how to use the device – all of this takes about 1 hour;
  • After the installation appointment, he/she will have to return to Smart Start every two weeks so that the Smart Start techs can download the device’s readings;
    • In other words, Smart Start will do 2 downloads per month;
  • The Smart Start people then send a report to his/her Probation Officer with the results of those readings;
  • He/She must blow into the device once during each of the specified times (for example, he/she may be ordered to do a breathalyzer between 6am and 9am; and another between 9pm and 12am, each day);
  • Anytime he/she wants to drive, even if that is not during one of her specified times, he/she must still blow into the device to start the car;
In terms of the fees, here is what he/she is looking at:
  • He/She must pay a total of $225 at the time of installation;
    • $100 for the actual installation; and
    • $125 for the 1st Month’s Usage Fee; and
  • He/She must then pay $150 per month
    • $125 for the monthly Usage Fee – which covers 1 of the 2 monthly downloads; and
    • $25 for the 2nd of 2 downloads.

When he/she completes her ordered interlock sentence, he/she has to make a final appointment to remove the device. It is not likely that an additional fee for removing the device.

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Peer Recognition

Mike Nichols is a national leader in drunk driving defense. He is a member of the Forensic Committee and Michigan delegate to the National College for DUI Defense. He is also a Sustaining Member of the College. Nichols is also a founding member of the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys; a member of the American Chemical Society; an associate member of he American Academy of Forensic Science, Adjunct Professor of Forensic Evidence in Criminal Law and OWI Law and Practice at Cooley Law School. He is also author of the West OWI Practice book and several chapters in other books on science and the law.

Mike Nichols is recognized by his peers in Michigan as a “SuperLawyer” in DUI/Criminal Defense. Nichols has also been asked to speak at conferences by groups such as the NCDD; Various Bar Associations in other states.