A new state law will put ignition interlock devices in the vehicles of many first-time DUI offenders. Although Alabama already requires IIDs for repeat offenders and some first-time offenders, those who utilize pretrial diversion programs have never had to use these devices. This new change to criminal law makes IIDs a requirement for all first-time offenders utilizing pretrial diversion.
The pretrial diversion program is available to some first-time DUI defendants. These individuals have the potential to have their charges dropped so long as they meet certain expectations, such as paying fees and passing drug tests. The new law adds in one more condition -- drivers must have an IID installed until they complete the program.
The bill's sponsor cited research that showed IIDs are most effective as deterrents for future DUIs when first-time offenders are required to use them. However, not everyone is so happy with the new law. One opponent says he believes the change was pushed by the companies that manufacture and install the IIDs as an effort to boost their own bottom lines. Cost may indeed be an issue for some defendants, as there is an initial installation fee as well as monthly servicing costs.
Although IIDs may be an annoying intrusion, these devices can help some Alabama defendants maintain their driving privileges. For those who drive for work or school, maintaining an active driver's license can be essential. However, timely action is often key as drunk driving charges tend to proceed much more quickly than other criminal law violations.