What if I have a false positive on my Ignition Interlock Device?
When you lose your license following an OWI conviction, you must fight a long and tough battle to earn back privileges from the Michigan Secretary of State. Typically those privileges require you to equip your car with an Ignition Interlock Device, or BAIID. A BAIID is a breath alcohol analyzer with computer logic and an internal memory. It connects with a motor vehicle's ignition and other control systems. The BAIID measures your bodily alcohol content [BAC], and keeps the vehicle from starting if your BAC is .025 or higher. The BAIID must include a camera capable of recording a digital image of the individual providing the sample. The device will also ask for random retests while the person is driving [called “rolling retests”].
Test failures, tampering, or other BAIID-related violations may result in an extension of the time before you can ask for another driver license appeal hearing, or may require your original license revocation/denial be reinstated. If there are alcohol readings or other BAIID violations after the device is installed, the BAIID vendor will report them to the Secretary of State. In those instances, a re-revocation is almost guaranteed.
Often times, you’ll be informed of violations without intentionally doing anything wrong, or without knowledge of specific violation. For example, you might be served a violation notice for “Tampering” with the BAIID while the car was in the service repair shop. Other times, drivers are truly innocent (perhaps food or mouthwash caused the violation), but they don’t know how or where to prove their innocence. As a result, the Interlock violation can often be defended or mitigated at hearing.
Daniel T. Geherin, founder of MiLicenseLawyer.com, has been an OWI and driver’s license appeals specialist for 25+ years. He’s conducted over 1,500 substance-abuse license reinstatement hearings at the Michigan Secretary of State, and has defended thousands of OWI charges throughout the State. His clients come from all over the State of Michigan, and all over the country. He’s helped reinstate over 350 Michigan licenses in the last decade alone. Dan is also the published author of The Michigan Drunk Driving and Driver’s License Handbook, which has a chapter on BAIID violations and false positives.
Dan and his team frequently get calls from clients who worked really hard to back their driving privileges following a conviction for OWI, only to quickly lose them again for an Ignition Interlock Device violation. This is especially true for people who “blew numbers” on the device. We’ve received calls like:
“I used mouthwash (or ate food, or chewed gum, or used cough syrup) just before blowing into the Ignition Interlock Device, and blew a false positive; what should I do?”
“I don’t know what caused the device to lock me out; what are my options?”
“I drank last night, and thought I would be fine by morning; am I in trouble?”
If you intentionally drink alcohol and then have a start-up failure, almost certainly you’ll face revocation of your license and possibly new criminal charges. There’s simply no defense or excuse for that, especially if you were granted a license on the condition that you remain totally abstinent from alcohol.
However, if you truly have a false positive (from food, mouthwash etc.), the best way to fight the violation is to IMMEDIATELY provide a sample of your breath, blood or urine to prove it wasn’t the result of beverage alcohol. Many police stations offer free Preliminary Breath Testing, and most urgent care clinics offer ETG tests (Urine Ethylglucuronide) which can confirm that you haven’t consumed alcohol in the proceeding 48+ hours. Without these tests, the Secretary of State will assume that you drank alcohol and will impose swift and severe consequences. They just don’t believe claims of false positives without verification.
If you’ve received notice of an Ignition Interlock Violation for a false positive or need help with your driver’s license reinstatement in Ann Arbor, and need assistance, please call us. We are well-versed in the mechanics/administration of BAIID devices, and have successfully defended hundreds of BAIID violations. We have a network of available experts to help testify about the BAIID malfunctions. And, we never stop fighting for clients to return to the road lawfully and legally.
Geherin Law Group: We are the KEY to putting you back in the driver’s seat.