Ignition Interlock Laws in Ohio: Comprehensive Overview for Drivers

Ignition interlock devices are increasingly being recognized as a crucial tool in addressing the problem of drunk driving. They function by requiring the driver to provide a breath sample before starting the vehicle, measuring the blood alcohol content (BAC) levels, and only allowing the engine to start if the BAC is below a certain limit. In Ohio, these devices are being utilized as part of the state’s DUI (driving under the influence) laws to help curb recidivism and ensure safety on the roads.

Ohio’s ignition interlock laws have evolved over time in response to the persistence of drunk driving and the need for more effective legal remedies. As a result, judges are given authorization to order breath analyzer ignition interlock devices as an optional sanction for offenders. These laws play a vital role in reducing the likelihood of repeat offenses, as demonstrated in a longitudinal study in Hamilton County, which found significant reductions in DUI recidivism rates following the implementation of ignition interlock devices.

The laws governing the use of ignition interlock devices in Ohio can vary depending on the severity of the DUI offense and individual circumstances. By mandating the installation of these devices for a specified period, the state aims to deter drunk driving and create a safer environment for all road users. With continued evaluation and refinement of ignition interlock laws, Ohio’s approach to address the dangers of drunk driving can serve as a critical component in reducing the negative impacts of such behavior on public safety and health.

Overview of Ignition Interlock Laws in Ohio

Definition of Ignition Interlock

An ignition interlock device (IID) is a breathalyzer connected to a vehicle’s ignition system. Drivers must provide a breath sample to start the engine, and if the device detects a blood alcohol concentration above a predetermined limit, the vehicle will not start. In Ohio, ignition interlock devices are used as a legal measure to help prevent repeat instances of driving under the influence (DUI) 1.

Mandatory and Discretionary Use

In Ohio, ignition interlock devices are not mandated for all DUI offenders. However, judges have the authority to require the installation of an IID as a condition of limited driving privileges during a license suspension period and beyond 2. It has been found that the use of ignition interlock devices can be effective in reducing DUI recidivism, leading some states to make their use mandatory in specific cases 3.

The court may require IIDs for first-time offenders or offenders with multiple DUI convictions. The decision of whether to require an IID depends on factors such as the severity of the offense, the driver’s history, and the judge’s discretion 4.

Eligibility for Interlock Devices

To be eligible for an ignition interlock device in Ohio, the offender must meet certain criteria set by the Ohio Revised Code. Some of the eligibility requirements include:

  • Serving at least half of the license suspension period
  • Completing a drug/alcohol assessment and treatment program, if required
  • Not having any offenses involving the use of a deadly weapon while operating a vehicle
  • Having no previous participation in an IID program in the last 10 years 5

Upon meeting the eligibility criteria, the offender is responsible for the cost of installation, maintenance, and monitoring of the IID. Failure to comply with IID requirements or tampering with the device can result in additional penalties 6.

Requirements and Procedures

Installation Process

In Ohio, individuals convicted of DUI offenses may be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. This device works as a breathalyzer and prevents the vehicle from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol content exceeds the pre-set limit. The installation process requires the offender to find an approved service provider and pay for the installation of the device in their vehicle. The device must be installed on each vehicle registered or operated by the offender.

Monitoring and Maintenance

Once the ignition interlock device is installed, it needs regular monitoring to ensure proper functioning. In Ohio, offenders are required to visit an approved service provider every 30 days for a calibration service. During these visits, the service provider checks the device for proper functioning and downloads data that records any failed or skipped tests. Any violations or device tampering may result in additional penalties or an extension of the ignition interlock requirement.

Duration and Removal

The duration of the ignition interlock requirement varies depending on the circumstances of the DUI offense and the individual’s driving record. In Ohio, the ignition interlock device must be installed for a minimum of six months for most first-time offenders. However, repeat offenders and those with a high BAC level may be required to have the device installed for a longer period.

After the required duration, offenders are eligible for removal of the ignition interlock device from their vehicle. They must visit an approved service provider to have the device removed and provide proof of removal to the court or relevant authority to regain regular driving privileges. It is crucial to comply with all maintenance and monitoring requirements throughout the ignition interlock program to avoid violations or extensions of the requirement.

Violations and Consequences

In this section, we will discuss the consequences of violating the ignition interlock laws in Ohio. The non-compliance penalties, tampering, and circumvention of ignition interlock devices will be the primary focus of this section.

Non-Compliance Penalties

The penalties for non-compliance with ignition interlock requirements can be quite severe in Ohio. First-time offenders may face license suspension, fines, and even jail time depending on the severity of the violation. Repeat offenders will likely face stiffer penalties, including longer license suspension periods and higher fines. According to a longitudinal study in Hamilton County, Ohio, ignition interlock devices are often ordered in addition to other legal sanctions such as fines, license suspension, or incarceration.


Tampering with an ignition interlock device is a serious violation of Ohio’s ignition interlock laws. This includes attempting to disable, bypass, or otherwise render the device ineffective. In Ohio, tampering with an ignition interlock device may result in:

  • Additional fines
  • Extended license suspension or revocation
  • Possible jail time


Circumventing an ignition interlock device – such as asking someone else to provide a breath sample to start the vehicle – is another serious violation. The consequences of circumventing an ignition interlock device in Ohio include:

  • Increased fines
  • Extended license suspension
  • Possible imprisonment

It is crucial for individuals required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle to adhere to the regulations and guidelines established by Ohio state law. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in severe legal consequences and additional penalties. Utilizing the device as intended and following the laws will ultimately benefit the individual, helping them avoid further legal complications and ensuring a safer driving experience for everyone on the road.

Costs and Financial Assistance

Installation and Maintenance Costs

Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) are an essential part of the Ohio legal system when it comes to dealing with Operating a Vehicle while Impaired (OVI) offenders. The cost of installing and maintaining these devices can vary depending on the specific IID provider. To give a general idea, the average installation cost ranges from $70 to $150, while the monthly maintenance fee can range from $60 to $90. Some additional fees might apply, such as removal fees or device calibration, which typically take place every 30-60 days.

Financial Assistance Programs

For some OVI offenders, the costs associated with IID installation and maintenance might be a financial burden. To provide a solution for those in need, Ohio has financial assistance programs in place. These programs are designed to help offenders cover a portion of the IID costs, ensuring that they can comply with the law and maintain their ability to drive for necessary purposes, such as employment or medical appointments.

While specific details about the financial assistance available for Ignition Interlock Laws in Ohio can be found by contacting the local IID providers or the court system, it is essential to keep in mind that eligibility guidelines and criteria can vary. Individuals seeking financial assistance must provide documentation of financial strain and adhere to any court-ordered provisions, such as completing a substance abuse treatment program if required.

By understanding the costs associated with IIDs and the potential availability of financial assistance programs, OVI offenders can navigate Ohio’s Ignition Interlock Laws and work toward successful completion of their legal requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is an ignition interlock device required in Ohio?

In Ohio, the duration for which an ignition interlock device (IID) is required depends on the specific circumstances of the offender’s OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired) conviction. Generally, for a first offense, an IID is required for a minimum of 6 months. However, the duration may be longer for repeat offenders or those with higher blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of arrest.

What are the penalties for a first OVI offense in Ohio?

The penalties for a first OVI offense in Ohio may include fines ranging from $375 to $1,075, a jail term of 3 days to 6 months, and a license suspension between 6 months and 3 years. Additionally, the court may decide to require the installation of an IID as a condition for obtaining limited driving privileges.

What is Annie’s Law and its impact on Ohio interlock requirements?

Annie’s Law, passed in Ohio in 2017, strengthens the IID requirements to better discourage drunk driving. Under Annie’s Law, first-time OVI offenders who choose to install an IID in their vehicle are eligible for unlimited driving privileges during their license suspension period. The law also increases the potential duration of license suspension and mandatory use of IIDs for repeat offenders.

How does one obtain unlimited driving privileges in Ohio?

To obtain unlimited driving privileges in Ohio, an OVI offender must first install an IID in their vehicle. Once the IID is installed, they must then present a certificate of installation to the court, proof of insurance, and pay any associated fees. Upon meeting these requirements, the offender will be granted unlimited driving privileges, allowing them to drive without restrictions during their license suspension period, as long as the IID remains installed and functional.

What are the consequences of failing an interlock test in Ohio?

Failing an interlock test in Ohio can result in serious consequences for the driver. These may include extension of the IID requirement, license suspension, or more severe penalties for repeat violations. It is crucial that individuals using an IID do not attempt to drive their vehicle after consuming alcohol.

What is the cost of installing and maintaining an interlock device in Ohio?

The cost of installing and maintaining an ignition interlock device in Ohio generally ranges from $70 to $150 for installation and between $50 and $100 for monthly maintenance and monitoring fees. Specific costs may vary depending on the provider and model of the IID. Keep in mind that these expenses are typically the responsibility of the offender.


  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0011128792038002001

  2. https://codes.ohio.gov/ohio-revised-code/

  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749379710007105

  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749379798001172

  5. https://codes.ohio.gov/ohio-revised-code/section-4510.13

  6. https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.89.11.1696

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