When does Texas require that someone install an IID to drive?

Those convicted of a driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense in Texas can expect the courts to impose driving consequences. A guilty plea or conviction will typically result in a mandatory license suspension. How long the courts take someone’s driving privileges will depend on their prior record and the details of the situation leading to their DWI arrest.

Losing a license is only one of the possible driving penalties that the state can impose. Judges can also order individuals to install ignition interlock devices (IIDs) in their vehicles to retain or regain driving privileges, for example. Who might have to install an IID after a DWI conviction?

Those with prior DWI offenses

Texas law permits judges to order the installation of an IID when someone has a history of previous DWI convictions. A second or subsequent DWI arrest could lead to both a licensed suspension and a requirement for an IID after someone regains their license.

Those with a very high alcohol level

For most drivers, a DWI charge is likely if their chemical test results show that they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Those with particularly high BACs that are nearly twice the legal limit could potentially face an order to install an IID in their vehicle after a conviction. Test results showing a BAC of 0.15% or higher will result in an order to install an IID. Even a first-time DWI could lead to an IID requirement if someone has a high BAC at the time of their arrest.

Having an IID installed can be embarrassing and expensive. Individuals have to pay to have the device installed and then also pay for regular appointments to maintain and calibrate the device. They will have to perform a test whenever they want to start their vehicle. If someone gets caught driving a vehicle without an IID installed while subject to a requirement, they could potentially face additional penalties.

For many motorists, installing an IID is an opportunity to practice new, safer driving habits and to establish a history of compliance with traffic laws, but most would prefer to avoid such requirements by avoiding a conviction. Understanding the rules for the Texas IID program may help those weighing their strategic defense options after a recent DWI arrest.