What Is a Tamper/ Circumvent Violation?

Michigan residents who have had their driver’s license revoked for OWI but reinstated are often required to install an Ignition Interlock device (technically known as a “BAIID” for Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device) in their vehicle.  These same devices are notoriously fickle, in that many drivers encounter countless technical glitches with them.  One of the most common technical glitches is called a “tamper or circumvent,” which gets reported anytime the BAIID unit is disconnected or loses power. Tamper and circumvent violations arise from loss of battery power in the vehicle. This often happens unintentionally, from driving an older car, or from the cold Michigan winter. Such violations can make a difficult process even worse—if you are struggling with your license reinstatement in Michigan and need help, Michigan License Lawyer is here for you!

Unfortunately, these tamper/circumvent violations must get reported to the Michigan Secretary of State as a MAJOR violation.  Additionally, if a driver commits a major violation (including a start-up failure; missed tests, etc.) he will typically suffer an AUTOMATIC reinstatement of license revocation or suspension, often indefinitely.  This reinstatement might only be set aside or modified upon the driver filing an appeal with the Secretary of State, at which he will be required to testify and justify/explain the major violation. 

Attorney Daniel T. Geherin, author of The Michigan Drunk Driving and Driver’s License Restoration Handbook, is recognized as an expert on license reinstatement in Michigan. He has handled driver’s license appeals for 20+ years, and has litigated hundreds of appeals regarding BAIID devices.  Every day, Dan gets calls from clients and other attorneys asking about Interlock devices and how/why a tamper or circumvent violation occurred.

Typical questions include:

“What is a tamper/circumvent?”

“How can I avoid a tamper/circumvent if my car battery dies?”

“Can I appeal my license reinstatement following a tamper/circumvent allegation?”

Obviously, some tamper violations are legitimate major issues.  If a driver deliberately disables the device so that he/she can drink and drive, there will be no relief available.  However, the majority of these violations occur when either (a) the battery dies or (b) when some mechanical work is being done on the car and the device is temporarily disabled.  Violations like this second type are justifiable and should not result in a license being revoked again, especially after a driver worked so hard to get back his license. 

Some interlock companies are better than others at explaining how to avoid a tamper/circumvent violation.  Some will even help drivers send in documentation proving an innocent explanation before a reinstatement occurs.  Others will leave the fight up to the driver by herself.  As a general rule, if the vehicle battery dies or if mechanical work is needed, the driver must document the problem (i.e., collect receipts, take pictures, preserve texts/phone calls, etc.) and ask the interlock company and/or SOS for permission to disable/replace the device.  This is often the only way to potentially avoid or appeal a major violation for tamper/circumvent.  If a reinstatement occurs, the driver has a short time window (usually 14 days from the reinstatement date) to request an appeal at the Secretary of State.  If that appeal is denied, the driver can often file a Legal Appeal in his County of Residence Circuit Court. 

If you have received a Major Violation notice, please call us immediately. After all, the process of license reinstatement in Michigan is difficult enough! If you have any other questions/concerns about the BAIID device and any claimed violations, call Dan and his team at MichiganLicenseLawyer.com   We’re available 24/7, we know everything there is to know about BAIID Ignition Interlock devices, and we’ll fight zealously to protect or restore your license.  For more information, contact us or call 24/7 at (734) 263-2780. 

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Geherin Law Group, PLLC, represents individuals throughout the state of Michigan, including those in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Dearborn, Battle Creek, Bay City, Canton, Dearborn Heights, East Lansing, Farmington Hills, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Livonia, Muskegon, Novi, Pontiac, Portage, Port Huron, Rochester Hills, Royal Oak, Saginaw, Southfield, St. Clair Shores, Sterling Heights, Taylor, Troy, Warren, Waterford and Westland.

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