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Interlock Ignition Devices | Wisconsin OWI Penalties

5 Answers To Questions About Ignition Interlock Devices In Wisconsin

Installation of Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) is a common penalty for OWI in Wisconsin. IIDs prevent inebriated drivers from getting on the road and potentially causing an accident. Installation is mandatory in some cases.

  1. What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

Ignition Interlock Devices are breath monitors that are installed on vehicle dashboards. Drivers who have an IID must breathe into it, like a breathalyzer, to have their BAC level measured before they are able to start their vehicle. If the BAC measures too high, ignition will not occur, and the vehicle will not start. Modern IIDs sometimes require additional breath samples during the drive. This is to help ensure the driver does not begin drinking after the vehicle has been turned on. If the sample is not provided or the BAC level is too high, the violation is recorded, and an alarm sounds until the vehicle is turned off.

  1. When is IID installation required?

In 2010, the state passed legislation that specifies when an IID must be installed. This includes:

  • If a driver has received a second OWI offense or greater.
  • If a driver registers a BAC of .15 or higher on their first offense.
  • If a driver refused a breath or blood test during a traffic stop.

If required to have an ignition interlock device installed, it must be installed on all vehicles registered or owned by the offender.

  1. How long will the device remain installed?

Wisconsin requires interlock ignition devices to remain in place for at least one year from the time of initial installation. However, each case is different, and your IID will depend on your specific charges and penalties. Click here to learn more about penalties in the state.

Removing, disconnecting, or circumventing the device will result in an automatic 6-month extension, plus additional fines and possible jail time.

  1. Can I just wait for the IID order to expire?

No. The IID is part of your sentencing order. You must have the device installed, or you risk being charged with a failure to comply. Even though you may lose your license for some time after sentencing and won’t be driving, the IID must be installed in your vehicle(s). You will be required to get an updated driver’s license once your suspension concludes. The new license will specify that you have an IID requirement. The time period for which you must have the IID installed begins as soon as the license is issued.

  1. Where do I get an IID?

Auto service centers carry and install interlock ignition devices. Check WIDoT for a current list. As the driver, you will be responsible for paying for the device and having it installed. Costs range from $1,200-$1,400 per year per vehicle. Some offenders may qualify for reduced installation and removal charges and daily fees depending on income.

Contact Eisenberg Law Offices To Fight Wisconsin OWI Charges

If you are facing OWI charges, contact the attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices for representation and advice. We can help you understand the charges against you and advise you of your legal options, represent you in court, and help get your charges reduced or dismissed, so you don’t lose your license or have to install an interlock ignition device in your vehicle.

Contact our office at 608-256-8356 or email to arrange a free case consultation.



Eisenberg Law has successfully represented our clients in thousands of Personal Injury, Criminal Defense and Family Law Cases during our 30-plus years in business.