Memphis, TN- Earlier this year the National Safety Board suggested states to make ignition interlock devices mandatory for first offenders. While some states have already imposed this penalty many others have been reluctant, but not Tennessee.

The bill to have ignition interlocks installed on the vehicles of those convicted of their first DUI went into effect on July 1st.

Tennessee already requires offenders with two or more DUI convictions to have ignition interlocks but they believe the new law will cut down on repeat offenders since approximately 50 percent of all first offenders will drive while intoxicated again.

Ignition interlocks are devices that are connected to the ignition of driver’s vehicle. They must blow into this device to determine if they have been drinking before the vehicle will even start. It also requires that the driver blow into the device periodically while they are traveling from one destination to the next.

These devices can be come be costly for the offender, not only do they have to pay an auto technician to install the device they must also pay to have the machine recalibrated each month.

DUI offenders in Tennessee already face high costs related to their DUI arrest. The typical fine for a first DUI offense is more than $1,000 and that doesn’t account for the cost of hiring a Memphis DUI attorney and rising car insurance premiums.  Additional consequences include suspension of driver’s license and a minimal jail sentence and participation in an alcohol education program, which the offender must also pay for.

DUI offenders who were arrested before July 1st will be immune to the new penalty though they can opt in for the program if they choose. Some people may choose this option since it allows them limited driving privileges as opposed to a complete suspension of their driver’s license.

Drivers must have the devices for the duration of their restricted driver’s license which is, typically, a minimum of 6 months, but could be longer.

If you have even known anyone who has used these devices then you know what a hassle they can be. The device can give false readings which is why they need to be calibrated on a monthly basis.

The best advice to anyone is to not drink and drive and if you are going out to drink take a cab or designate a driver who pledges to remain sober. However, many people don’t realize they are impaired when they get behind the wheel and find themselves in trouble with the law.

DUI charges are serious and have penalties which can interfere with the offender’s life. This charge can affect your current job or affect future job prospects. DUIs can stay on a Tennessean’s record for a minimum of ten years.

Anyone charged with a DUI should never think they can take on the courts without help. Suspected offenders who hire a Memphis DUI attorney have the chance to stop a conviction or plea for lesser charges.