IID Laws in Wisconsin

If you’ve been pulled over for an OWI offense in Wisconsin, you may be required to install an IID, or ignition interlock device, on your vehicle.  This post explores the law, how it applies to you, and how you can get an exemption.

The IID Law

There are three scenarios where a person convicted of OWI in Wisconsin will be required to install an IID:

  • All first time OWI offenders with a BAC of .15 or greater
  • All repeat OWI offenders (including those with a “second first”)
  • All drivers who refuse to provide a sample of their breath or blood

The IID is a device that requires drivers to blow a sample of air prior to the vehicle starting.  If the device detects an alcohol amount of .02 or greater, the car will not start.  Drivers are also required to randomly blow into the device at random intervals while driving.

The IID requirement applies to OWI offenders in two distinct ways.  First, a person subject to the requirement is prohibited from operating any vehicle without the device installed.  Second, the person is required to install the device on every vehicle titled in the person’s name.  So if the person owns three vehicles, then they must install an IID on each vehicle.

Offenders also are not allowed to “wait out” their IID order.  What this means is that the clock on the IID does not start until the offender reinstates their license.


Presently, there is a financial hardship provision which allows offenders to be exempted from installing an IID on a vehicle.  Note that this does not mean that they are allowed to drive any vehicle without an IID installed.  Remember that the IID requirement applies to the individual driver as well as vehicles titled in their name.  The financial hardship exemption is most often seen when the driver sold a vehicle but the title was never transferred.  Or when the vehicle was totaled in an accident but the proper paperwork was not submitted indicating the vehicle was a total loss.  In these scenarios, it can be helpful to hire an attorney to assist you in submitting the request for an exemption to the proper court.

A new law enacted this past April created a pilot program in 5 counties which allows OWI offenders to forgo an IID in favor of an 24/7 alcohol monitoring device.  This program is limited to repeat offenders and those who are under some form of monitoring, such as the pre-trial monitoring, probation, extended supervision, or a deferred prosecution program.  The person must be tested for alcohol or other drugs at least twice daily at approximately two-hour intervals.  This is a 5-year pilot program and is presently set to expire in 2021.

The IID requirement, and OWI law in general, is complicated.  The criminal and drunk driving attorneys at our law firm have the experience handling OWI cases throughout the state of Wisconsin.  We know what to look for and how to fight for the best result possible.  If you are charged with drunk driving in Wisconsin, contact us immediately.

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