Effective January 1st, Idaho Begins All-Offender Ignition Interlock Law 

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At the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2019, Idaho will join 30 other U.S. states and Washington, D.C. when it enacts a law that requires an ignition interlock device for all first-time DUI offenders.

"Previously, Idaho had one of the weakest ignition interlock laws," said Colleen Sheehy-Church, president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, shortly after the 2018 Idaho Legislature passed House Bill 55. The measure, which was signed into law by Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter last March, requires, with some exceptions, "the installation and operation of an ignition interlock device on all vehicles operated by a driving under the influence offender" for a period of one year following the end of a license suspension. Idaho's previous law had imposed an ignition interlock requirement on repeat offenders, but not first offenders.

"MADD is thrilled to add Idaho to the growing list of all-offender ignition interlock states," said Sheehy-Church, who gave particular thanks to Sen. Grant Burgoyne (D-Boise) and Rep. Melissa Wintrow (D-Boise) for helping to push the legislation through the Idaho Senate and House.

"We also can't thank our partners at AAA Idaho enough for their tireless efforts in pushing this lifesaving proposal," said Sheehy-Church.

Under the new law, offenders will have to pay for the installation and operation, but for offenders who can't afford a device, a fund will be set aside to assist the procurement of a device.

According to the Idaho Transportation Department, installation of an ignition interlock device might range between $50 to $140. Additionally, monthly usage costs range between $50 and $175.

As for exceptions, the legislation provides that the court may, at its discretion, relieve an offender of the obligation to install a device "if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that the person will not present a danger to the public or if there are exceptional or mitigating circumstances, demonstrating that installation of the device is unnecessary or unwarranted." That said, the legislation states that "financial hardship standing alone is not a mitigating circumstance."

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