Ignition Interlocks, Alcohol Monitoring Devices, and Look-Back Periods

Interviewer: Are there any ignition interlock requirements if you’re convicted of a DUI in Ohio?

Dale: There could be. In some courts, if your blood alcohol level was .170 and above, they will require the ignition interlock. More and more courts are beginning to require interlocks for high end reads.

If you’ve had more than one conviction in the past, even though it’s outside the six-year look-back period, the sentence will require interlock.

Interviewer: The look-back period is something to discuss. How long does a DUI arrest stay on your record?

Dale: The legislature requires is a six year look-back period because the minimum sentence requirements go up if you’ve been arrested multiple times within six years. However, the courts themselves will look back 20, 25 years. It’s important to remember that the courts can determine that your sentence could be anywhere between 3 to 180 days.

Interviewer: You mentioned about courts acting differently. How different is the treatment in the various courts you deal with? Are you able to say which ones are harsher or which ones are the more lenient?

Dale: Yes, absolutely. There are courts that could be identified as more harsh than others. In fact, within the Municipal Court, there are 13 judges. Walking in to each one of those 13 judge’s courtrooms is like being on a different planet each time.

You’ve got to know what the courts look for, what they will consider, and what the judges consider aggravating circumstances. There are some judges that are very difficult to persuade to grant any type of occupational privileges. There are other courts that order people to install interlocks and wear a scram device, which is an alcohol monitoring device.

Interviewer: What is a SCRAM device?

Dale: It measures your perspiration 24 hours a day. Once a day you go connect to a modem and it documents your alcohol consumption. Some courts will put as a term of your probation and a term of your occupational privileges that you cannot drink at all, period.

Interviewer: For how long? For the whole time you’re on probation?

Dale: Yes. If you have one drink while the case is pending and while you’re wearing the scramdevice, the court will revoke the occupational privileges they’ve granted you.

Interviewer: So even though you may be over 21 and legally you can drink and you’renowhere near a motor vehicle, the court can still say you can’t drink?

Dale: Yes. Not even while you are watching the Super Bowl at your house. The scramunit’s very uncomfortable and it’s not cheap. The device will cost you approximately $100 a month.

Interviewer: Is it similar to a plastic or metal bracelet that goes around your leg or your calf?

Dale: It is fitted around your ankle. If you look on YouTube, there are some people on the site that have them on and you can see for yourself how uncomfortable they are. The device can irritate the skin to the point where they cause open wounds. Additionally, there are people who have had anallergic reactions to these units.