Driving under the influence is a severe offense in Florida. Along with a permanent criminal record, a DUI conviction often comes with costly fines and court fees, license suspension or even possible jail time. The court may also order you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle.

An IID serves as an in-car breathalyzer that connects to your vehicle’s ignition. If the device detects any alcohol on your breath, the car will not start. Today, all 50 states in the U.S. have some form of IID laws in place.

If you are required to install an IID, you may feel embarrassed or worried about what your friends and family might think of you. However, while they can feel like an unfair punishment, IID’s can improve your life after a DUI conviction in many ways.

Who is required to have an IID in Florida?

In Florida, IID requirements vary depending on your conviction. First-time offenders may have to install a device depending on the judge’s discretion. However, if your blood alcohol content (BAC) was over .15 at the time of your arrest or a minor was in your car, an IID will be mandatory for six months. If it’s your second or third DUI conviction, you could be looking at up two years of driving with the device.

The benefits of an IID

IID’s may feel invasive, but they actually help prevent you from becoming a repeat offender. One study found that when required to install an IID, first-time offenders were 60% less likely to commit another DUI offense. In states that had mandatory IID installation for all offenders, DUI-related deaths dropped 15%.

An IID also allows you to maintain some sense of normalcy by preserving your driving privileges. In some cases, it could even reduce the amount of time of license suspension.

Proving you are committed to driving safely and sober can go a long way towards making amends for your mistake. An IID can also help you to regain the trust and respect of your loved ones.

The bottom line

Installing an IID isn’t ideal, but it’s ultimately in your best interest. Along with keeping you and others safe, it can help to ensure you don’t get another conviction on your record.