A new provision in Alabama’s DUI law, which was supposed to take effect on September 1, 2012, is stalled until “the kinks can get worked out”. The Alabama legislature recently enacted stiff ignition interlock penalties for drivers convicted of drunk driving or DUI. The new ignition interlock penalties in Alabama officially became law on September 1, 2012. Under the law, an Alabama driver convicted of DUI with a blood alcohol content higher than .15 percent must now install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle as part of the sentence. Like other IID’s used across the country, the device would require the driver to blow into the tube every time that they want to start their vehicle. The IID would maintain the data of each time the driver blew into the device, and if a driver registers over .02 percent, the vehicle engine will not start. Also, if the driver tried multiple times to start their vehicle while they had been consuming alcohol, then that information would be electronically maintained and potentially used against the driver at upcoming court hearings. First time offenders in Alabama would have to keep the ignition interlock device on their car for a minimum of 24 months. Additionally, the person’s driver’s license would reflect that they can only operate a vehicle that is equipped with an IID during that time period.
However, as was recently reported by Bob Johnson of the Associated Press and through the Tuscaloosa News, Alabama judges are waiting to actually order that the devices be installed until the details of how the law will be administered are all worked out. Montgomery County, Alabama District Court Judge Jimmy Pool was quoted as saying that he had not yet ordered one of the devices to be installed. So far, only two companies had been approved to install the devices in Alabama vehicles.
Right now, the device is only available in a few parts of Alabama, and those being primarily the larger cities. The Alabama Department of Forensic Services is the agency that approves manufacturers and providers of the IID within the state, and they have only approved two companies so far.
In summary, it’s a mess.
On April 26, 2012, the South Carolina senate adopted S.746. Significant changes for first offense DUI/drunk driving offenders in South Carolina regarding mandatory ignition interlock devices is present in S.746. Briefly, all drivers in South Carolina convicted of DUI/drunk driving, including first time offenders, would be required to have an IID installed on their personal vehicle. Additionally, all drivers who register .15 or higher on the breathalyzer, even if acquitted of a DUI/drunk driving charge, would also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on their personal vehicle. The minimum time which a driver would have to have an ignition interlock device would be for six months. Additionally, failure of the driver to “complete a plan of education and treatment” during the time that they have an ignition interlock device restricted license would lengthen the time of the requirement up to one year.