Did You Blow It? Breath Interlock Devices and DUIs


We need to begin by telling you what an interlock device is –  An ignition interlock device or breath alcohol ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer for an individual’s vehicle. It requires the driver to blow into a mouthpiece on the device before starting or continuing to operate the vehicle.

There are only two organizations that have the authority to order you to have an interlock device. I will describe those circumstances. We will address each organization underlined below – one at a time –  I also included obvious Q & A’s.


These suspensions are initiated when you get arrested for DUI – you would have had to submit a blood or breath sample containing .08 or above for alcohol or a per-se high-enough amount of a CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE in your blood, i.e. Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroin, Opiates etc. NOTE – This resulting interlock order has nothing to do with your criminal case, it is a totally separate administrative procedure.

Question: Can I contest this process administratively – and what will be the standard of proof?

Answer: Yes, you can contest it yourself, – OR – you can hire us to do it – which we STRONGLY recommend and there are two prongs to the standard of proof necessary – First, there needs to be testimony/evidence sufficient to “establish a reasonable grounds to believe that you were driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants”

AND – simultaneously

Whether the test you submitted showed alcohol above .08; or a detectable amount of a controlled substance for which you did not have a prescription and/or hold a valid registry ID card.

Question? Is there a deadline to contest this?

Answer: Yes – the deadline to contest this begins when you’re notified by that letter from the Nevada DMV – the date your suspension will begin is written on it. You will need to contest it right away for a breath sample.  Do not delay when requesting your hearing.

Question: Can I keep driving while I an awaiting a hearing?

Answer: Yes, the DMV will place a stay on your suspension or issue you a temporary license that you can use to still drive.  Do not drive on a revoked license or you will face jail time and another revocation of your license.

Question: How long before the hearing takes place?

Answer: Typically 3-4 months, sometimes longer.  However, if you have a stay or temporary license you may keep driving while you wait.

Question: Where does the DMV evidence come from?

Answer: Police officer testimony and forensic reports.

Question: How would I find out that the DMV intends to suspend my license?

Answer: They mail a letter to the address they have for you. Also, if you were to submit a BREATH test of .08 or above, they CONFISCATE your NV Driver’s license immediately and issue a notice on the spot.

Question: What if I ignore the letter?

Answer: They begin an administrative suspension on a certain date and you would be liable criminally if you were caught driving thereafter.

Question: Is there separate CRIMINAL liability for driving on that revoked driver’s license?

Answer – Yes!!  You must avoid this at all costs – there’s a HIGH LIKELIHOOD you’ll be forced to go to jail for this for a minimum of 30 days, up to 180 days…(criminally) and suffer a longer (one-year) ADMINISTRATIVE suspension as well.

Question: Do you charge extra for representing me in that hearing?

Answer: No – our firm does not… but our fees do not cover DMV appeals – only the hearing itself.

Question: Do I need to be there and who acts as judge?

Answer: You DO NOT need to be there and there is no judge – it’s a Hearing Officer hired by The DMV. They usually issue a decision within 7 days of the hearing in written form.  It may or may not make sense to be present and testify at this hearing.  Discuss this with your attorney.

Question: Can I win my hearing, what are my chances?

Answer: Yes we can win – if an officer fails to appear – or fails to testify in a manner to sufficiently articulate a legally sufficient basis to establish what we listed above.

Question: Does the DMV make me get a breath interlock device if I lose the DMV hearing?

Answer:  If you lose the DMV hearing, your license will be revoked.  However, the DMV will allow you to install an interlock device and get your license back to drive.  If you do this, keep proof of the installation to get credit from the Judge if you are ordered to install one on your criminal case.


Any Municipal Court or Justice Court Judge has the authority/discretion to order you to install this upon a DUI conviction, no matter what your BAC was…

  • it is a mandatory component of a dui conviction if you submitted a blood or breath sample between .08 and .18 …for 185 days
  • For a BAC above .18 you would need the interlock for 12-36 months ( at the judge’s discretion)

Question: When would this interlock device be necessary?

Answer: Only if you enter a GUILTY or NO CONTEST plea to DUI or found guilty at trial – and only after the judge pronounced your sentence.

Question: Do I get credit for the time I had an interlock on my car administratively?

Answer: Yes, if you show proof.


For more information on interlock providers, see the NV DMV webpage here.

Always seek legal counsel.  This does not create a attorney-client relationship.