St. Louis, MO- Like it or not, ignition interlocks for DUI convictions are here to stay. Missouri along with dozens of other states see these devices as an effective way to curtail DUI recidivism. But one Missouri man claims these devices violate his civil rights.
After a losing his license for nearly a decade because of a DUI conviction, 72 year-old Homer Reed was finally able to get his license back on the condition that he install an ignition interlock device in his vehicle. But Reed, who is asthmatic, is unable to produce the amount breath necessary to blow in the device and start his vehicle, making it impossible for his to drive even though he has paid his dues, according to Courthouse News.
Reed petitioned the Department of Revenue and got approval to install an ignition interlock that requires a lower volume of breath, but even with the new device, Reed is unable to produce the amount of breath needed to start his vehicle. When he can get his car started, he is endangering the public safety because these devices require drivers to blow into them while they are driving. If a driver doesn’t blow into these devices in certain time period, their cars automatically shut off, creating a hazard on the road.
Over a year ago, Reed and his attorney sent a letter to the Department of Revenue asking that they offer him alternatives to an ignition interlock, such as an ankle bracelet that monitors alcohol intake. The agency has however, ignored Reed’s request for an alternative and he is now suing the state, alleging that their unwillingness to accommodate his disability is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Reed is asking the state of Missouri to change its policies to better serve residents with disabilities. He also wants the state to reimburse him for the money he spent having the ignition interlock installed and the monthly fees he paid to have the device calibrated. Courthouse News reported that Reed spent nearly $4,000 on the device which essentially made his car useless.
Reed has already surpassed his six month requirement for the device, but he is making a stand for other disabled persons who may face a similar dilemma.
A DUI in Missouri can have life-changing consequences. First-offenders face up to 6 months in jail and could lose their license for 30 days or longer. Even with a first offense, a judge can order a convicted DUI offender to install an ignition interlock device into their vehicles, adding to the thousands of dollars in fines and fees associated with a DUI conviction. Any subsequent offenses and your penalties will double or triple.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you need to retain a St. Louis DUI attorney immediately. You must fight your conviction, otherwise you could be paying for your mistake in many different ways for years to come. Our team of DUI attorneys in Missouri will dedicate their time and expertise to your case so that you have a winning defense.