False Positive Readings on Ignition Interlock Devices in Arizona

Arizona driving under the influence (DUI) charges can significantly impact a person’s livelihood and reputation. While the short-term consequences may be hard to deal with, the long-term effect can hinder education and job opportunities, social relationships, and even family relationships. As a result, those who face these charges should consult with an attorney before agreeing to any terms or negotiations. Almost every case has a defense, and an attorney can help present a legally sound and compelling case to a judge or jury.

The legal consequences only heighten for every subsequent charge, and those accused of a DUI should make sure that their case receives fair and impartial review. Defenses may involve technical and complex legal theories, and others may revolve around a flat-out mistake of law or fact. A typical example of a mistake involves false positive readings on ignition interlock devices (IID).

Generally, technicals install IID’s in vehicles following a court order. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), the technician wires the device to the ignition and installs it on the vehicle’s dashboard, in addition to a camera and GPS. A driver cannot start the vehicle until they exhale into the device. The engine will not start if it detects alcohol on the driver’s breath. In an attempt to address fraud, the device will randomly prompt the driver to provide a sample throughout their journey. When the sample exceeds the permitted Blood Alcohol Content limit or fails to detect a sample, the car will continuously alert the driver.

However, while these devices are precise and pick up the slightest amount of alcohol; a positive reading may stem from everyday objects. For example, the device may pick up on:

  • Breath spray,
  • Cologne,
  • Cough medicine,
  • Cough drops,
  • Mouth wash,
  • Hand sanitizer,
  • Certain baking extracts, and
  • Energy drinks.

The device cannot distinguish between alcohol from these objects or alcoholic drinks. False positives can have disastrous consequences on an individual and may result in hefty fines, incarceration, and license suspension or revocation. Further, the devices may incorrectly log a reading because of incorrect installation or a defect in the device. These seemingly minor errors can have lifelong consequences on the accused. An Arizona criminal defense attorney can help establish a credible and effective defense against these serious charges.

Contact an Arizona DUI Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know is facing Arizona DUI charges, contact the Phoenix criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of James E. Novak. Attorney Novak is an experienced and highly skilled attorney with years of successful litigation experience. His office represents clients in an array of criminal matters, including Arizona DUI defense and charges related to assaults, aggravated assault, theft, burglary, vehicular offenses, sexual offenses, probation violation, and drug charges. Attorney Novak is a preeminent Arizona criminal defense attorney and has published several resources on criminal law. He provides clients with compassion, respect, and zealous representation at every point of their case. Contact the Law Offices of James E. Novak at 800-413-1499 to schedule a free initial consultation.


Contact Information