Ignition Interlock in Manitoba

There is an ever-present push and pull in the legal system, one that informs a lot of debate. The law must protect society from bad actors, and it can go about this in two different ways: deterrents and reformations. Deterrents are those things that keep someone from acting badly for fear of consequences – jail time, criminal records, and the like. Reformation, on the other hand, seeks to change the behaviour of bad actors so they can reintegrate in society. One of the difficulties we face is that the deterrents can often lead bad actors to become more difficult to reform; spend a lot of time in jail surrounded by criminals and leave with a criminal record, and you better believe you’ll be more likely to commit crimes again.

The ignition interlock program is a system that seeks to marry deterrents and reformation together. We want people who were convicted of a DUI to be able to get back on the road, so they can continue to live as productive members of society; we don’t, however, want them to endanger people’s lives. The ignition interlock is a type of breathalyzer that’s hooked up to your vehicle; it must be blown into for the vehicle to start. If any alcohol is detected, the vehicle won’t start, and you’ll have to wait a period of time before you can try again.

Any time a system is created, someone tries to break it, and at first glance this is pretty easy to do with the ignition interlock system: get someone who isn’t drunk to blow into it for you, then get on the road. The solution to this is random re-tests; while you’re on the road, the interlock system will signal you to breathe into it again. Should you fail the test, or should you neglect to blow into it when requested, your horn will begin to honk incessantly and your lights will flash until you pull over. Additionally, all data from the interlock system is recorded and sent to MPI.

There are a lot of reasons you can have the interlock device installed into your vehicle. Any DUI conviction will result in the interlock device being installed; this includes non-alcohol related DUIs. As you accumulate more DUI convictions (not something you want to do), the period of time for which the interlock device must remain in your vehicle will increase, starting at 1 year and ending with a lifetime of mandatory interlock use. You cannot operate a vehicle without an interlock device during these periods of time. There are legal consequences for doing so, as well as for tampering with the interlock device. There are consequences for other individuals providing a breath sample for you. These consequences vary from fines to jail time, and are often criminal convictions.

When you’re charged with driving under the influence, you need an experienced DUI lawyer to help you understand the charges and get the best results. Imagine a scenario in which you are falsely accused of driving under the influence because of lingering THC in your system from a joint you smoked yesterday, you get convicted, and you end up with an interlock device when you don’t even drink; the whole thing seems a bit absurd, doesn’t it? A great lawyer will help you make the best case.