An ignition interlock device prevents you from starting your car if you are over the legal limit for alcohol limit for driving or over a limit you set on the device, which can be as low as zero. In Ontario, the legal limit is 0.08 blood alcohol content (BAC) with a "warn limit" of 0.05, which can have legal repercussions of its own.
Ignition interlock programs are designed to help DUI offenders avoid reoffending and stay out of trouble. In many cases they can be helpful for somebody with a drinking problem. Unfortunately, many offenders think there is a stigma to the devices and would rather avoid them.
In Ontario, you can be obliged to fit an interlock device if you have a BAC in the "warn range" or fail a sobriety test three or more times within 5 years. They are also used for the first offense with a criminal impaired driving conviction. In other words, if you are caught drinking and driving you are very likely to be forced to install an interlock device. The police like them: the number of devices in use in Canada doubled between 2007 and 2012 from 11,300 to 26,800 and has continued growing since.
Agreeing to have a device installed can reduce your license suspension period, which means that you can get back on the road faster, while having your safety and that of others around you better protected. Unfortunately, they cost $100 a month, an expense which can mount up. However, if it's a choice between the device and losing your job then the decision is easy.
You have to get the interlock from an approved installer. Those in Toronto include LifeSafer of Canada and ALCOLOCK Canada. For some people, voluntarily installing an interlock might be a good way to avoid getting in trouble in the first place. If you know you have a problem and don't trust your own judgment, then you can consider installing them pre-emptively. If you do agree to an interlock device you are likely also to be required to get counseling and go through an education program. But this is much better than not being allowed to drive for an extended period of time after a DUI conviction.
In order to work out whether this is the right choice for you, as well as the opportunities for sentence reduction, you should contact a good drinking and driving lawyer Toronto residents trust. Mass Tsang has five experienced Toronto DUI lawyers who will give you a free consultation and help you navigate the ignition interlock program and any other aspects of a DUI charge. You should not try to deal with it on your own, but with the support of a good, sympathetic lawyer who knows the complexities of the law.