Under Minnesota law, first-time DWI offenders whose blood alcohol concentration is below twice the legal limit or who have had their license suspended may be permitted to drive with a limited license, which allows them to drive under certain limitations. One such limitation is the installation of the ignition interlock device on all the offender’s vehicles, as well as the vehicles that the offender operates on a regular basis.
Under Minnesota law, first-time DWI offenders with a blood alcohol concentration that is more than twice the legal limit, as well as second-time DWI offenders, are given the option of regaining full driving privileges provided that they participate in Minnesota’s Ignition Interlock Device Program. All drivers with cancelled licenses and whose driving privileges are denied are also obliged to enroll in this program for a three- to six-year period to resume full driving privileges.
An ignition interlock device is small breath testing device installed in a motor vehicle’s steering column. The offender will be required to first provide a sober breath sample before being able to start the vehicle’s ignition. If the driver’s breath-alcohol content exceeds a pre-determined limit, then the motor vehicle will not start. Periodic breath samples will also be required while the car is in motion. If the driver does not pass the breath test, then the vehicle’s engine will shut off.
Employer Exception in Minnesota
When it comes to the installation of the ignition interlock device, it must be known that there is an employer exception in Minnesota. The installation of the ignition interlock device is not required on vehicles that are leased, owned, or rented by the offender’s employer. It is also not necessary on vehicles whose maintenance or care is temporarily the responsibility of the employer, yet is being driven by the offender during working hours as a requirement of employment.
The driver of a UPS delivery truck, for example, will not be required to install an ignition interlock device on the delivery truck owned by UPS.
Among other requirements, the driver, however, must be able to provide a declaration from his or her employer that states the individual’s employment necessitates him or her to operate an employer owned vehicle during working hours. In order to qualify for this exemption, the driver is required to have the device installed on his or her own vehicle.
Features on the ignition interlock device prevent other individuals from starting the motor vehicle. Those caught tampering with the device, is a misdemeanor, unless the tampering is due to repair or emergency purposes. Tampering or trying to bypass the interlock ignition system results in 180 days for a first violation, 365 for a second violation, and 545 days for a third violation and each succeeding violation.