Ignition Interlock Reports Subject to Challenge in Probation Violation Hearings

Published: 16 February 2017

In 2006, Kansas enacted legislation requiring the use of ignition interlock devices by some DUI offenders. The device is a breathalyzer installed in the ignition part of a motor vehicle. The driver must provide a breath sample for the device before the vehicle will start. Any detection of alcohol will prevent the vehicle from starting. Even the alcohol in mouthwash has been known to lock up an interlock system to prevent a car from starting.

The term of the ignition interlock period depends on the number of DUIs a person has; whether the person refused testing of his or her breath, blood, or urine; and the blood alcohol content of any sample provided.

People on DUI probation are often required to have ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. Some probation officers request monthly reports from ignition interlock companies to determine whether their probationers have been locked out of their devices because of positive alcohol readings. These ignition interlock results have been used as a basis for asserting that an offender has violated his probation conditions by consuming alcohol.

Probationers who find themselves in these circumstances are not necessarily without a defense.

If neither the judicial order nor the probation contract requires the probationer to consent to disclosure of the reports from his ignition interlock device, the probation officer may not have rights to the information. The reports should belong to the probationers to pay for the ignition interlock services.

Under similar circumstances, Joseph, Hollander & Craft DUI defense attorney Bach Hang has argued that obtaining reports directly from an ignition interlock company, without the probationer’s consent, violates the Kansas and United States Constitutions’ prohibitions on unreasonable searches and seizures. The court hearing this argument agreed and granted a motion to suppress the reports from evidence in the probation violation hearing. Upon suppression of the evidence, the prosecution was unable to prove that a violation had occurred.

If you are facing charges for or related to a DUI, call Joseph, Hollander & Craft’s team of DUI defense attorneys:

Wichita: 316 262 9393
Topeka: 785 234 3272
Lawrence: 785 856 0143
Overland Park: 913 948 9490

*The information in this post reports the results of a particular case. It is intended to be used for information purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice. Every case is different, and neither Joseph, Hollander & Craft nor any attorney guarantees similar results will be obtained in the future.

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