Jurisdictional
Reciprocity

Jurisdictional Reciprocity

Introduction

Jurisdictional reciprocity refers to the effective management of offenders who are required to serve a period of interlock supervision by a jurisdiction where an impaired driving offense was committed when the offender resides in a different jurisdiction. There are two types of offenders who may find themselves in this situation:

  • The first type is drivers who, while passing through or visiting a jurisdiction, commit an impaired driving offense that requires interlock supervision.
  • The second type is offenders with an impaired driving conviction who require a period of interlock supervision in one jurisdiction, and who subsequently visit or re-locate to another jurisdiction.

In each of these situations, the jurisdiction where the offense was committed would require the interlock period to be served before the offender was eligible for a driver’s license in the jurisdiction where they plan to visit or reside. In many jurisdictions, particularly those with multiple state borders, a large number of offenders may fail to complete a required period of interlock supervision due to the impediments associated with monitoring across state lines.  

Further complicating this issue, it is difficult to quantify the magnitude of the problem due to limitations associated with tracking offenders using existing data systems in most jurisdictions. Many of these systems lack mechanisms to track offenders if they re-locate. Anecdotally, some jurisdictions report that they deal with only a handful of such cases each year, whereas other jurisdictions estimate that re-located offenders can account for up to 15% of eligible interlock program participants.

Since no two interlock programs are identical, with each one adopting unique processes and procedures, reciprocal arrangements between jurisdictions are important to ensure that offenders are not able to avoid interlock requirements. One solution involves the development of a set of minimum criteria that jurisdictions can uniformly apply to the interlock supervision of all out-of-state offenders. This could include a list of acceptable devices, a standardized set of violations, a single method for reporting, as well as a standard hard suspension period, interlock supervision period, and the requirement of an alcohol education program and/or treatment. However, from a legal perspective, it is also important to consider the issue of equality as part of any solution to ensure that all interlock offenders are treated uniformly and that out-of-state interlock offenders do not receive more lenient or punitive sanctions for a comparable offense.

Undoubtedly, creating a national approach to address this issue will take time and require negotiation and cooperation among jurisdictions. As such, steps are needed to begin to manage offenders across jurisdictions while relying upon current practices.

The focus of this section is to provide interlock program administrators and criminal justice practitioners with information about:

  • the nature and magnitude of the out-of-state offender problem;
  • challenges associated with tracking and monitoring this offender population;
  • available licensing and supervision mechanisms to track out-of-state offenders;
  • factors for program administrators to consider during the creation of reciprocal agreements with other jurisdictions; and,
  • strategies and opportunities to address the issue through collaboration with other jurisdictions and manufacturers.

Questions & Answers (Instructor Material)

1.
  Who is an out-of-state or transient offender?
2.
a) How big is the out-of-state offender problem across jurisdictions?
b) What are some factors that have contributed to an increase in the number of out-of-state interlock offenders?
3.
  What are some of the barriers associated with tracking this offender population?
4.
  Why is there heightened concern about out-of-state offenders?
5.
  Why is it important to be familiar with interlock programs in neighboring states?
6.
  What is the difference between a hardship permit, an interlock license, and an interlock-restricted license? How is this relevant to reciprocity?
7.
  How much time does it take to manage an out-of-state offender versus a resident offender?
8.
a) What is the Driver License Compact (DLC)? What is the Driver License Agreement (DLA)?
b) How can the DLC/DLA affect the eligibility of offenders to obtain a driver’s license in other jurisdictions?
9.
  How is the management of offenders who have an interlock as a condition of court supervision/diversion programs carried out when they re-locate?
10.
a) What is the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision (ICAOS)?
b)

How can the Interstate Compact Offender Tracking System (ICOTS) be utilized to track interlock offenders?

11.
  What steps can jurisdictions take to manage out-of-state offenders with interlock requirements?
12.
  What are some interlock program participation considerations that must be addressed in order to develop reciprocal agreements?
13.
  What are some strategies that jurisdictions are currently utilizing to address reciprocity that can be implemented elsewhere?
14.
  What role can manufacturers play in assisting jurisdictions in managing out-of-state offenders?
15.
  Are there opportunities for a national initiative to address this issue?

Downloads

Instructor questions & answers - Word file
Instructor Slides - PowerPoint file
Student Handout - Word file

 

Links

Glossary
References

1) Who is an out-of-state or transient offender?

There are two types of out-of-state or transient offenders:

  • Visitors who are traveling through or visiting a jurisdiction (e.g., FL) and who commit a DWI offense that requires interlock supervision in a jurisdiction where they do not reside.
  • Offenders who have a DWI offense in the jurisdiction where they reside that requires a period of interlock supervision, and who subsequently visit or re-locate to another jurisdiction. This can include offenders who change their address to a bordering state, but still reside in their home state for the purpose of avoiding an interlock requirement.

In either of these cases, the jurisdiction where the offense was committed may require that the interlock period be served before offenders become eligible for a driver’s license in the jurisdiction where they newly reside. This issue is more pronounced among jurisdictions with multiple borders and states where people are known to frequently re-locate or travel through en route to other destinations (e.g., Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware, and Florida).

2.a) Are there estimates of the magnitude of the out-of-state offender problem across jurisdictions?

Currently, it is very difficult to quantify the magnitude of the out-of-state offender problem across jurisdictions. Jurisdictions are generally unable to track the number of offenders required to complete the interlock program and who have subsequently moved out of the state, or the number of out-of-state offenders participating in their respective programs. The primary barrier to tracking this population is that the interlock authority is rarely notified of offenses or a change of address by offenders.

Additionally, the interlock authority may not be notified by other jurisdictions when interlocked offenders re-locate to their jurisdiction or when an offense is committed within the jurisdiction by an out-of-state driver.

The bottom line is that it is exceptionally difficult for jurisdictions to identify offenders from their own jurisdiction that have moved, when out-of-state offenders enter their state, or when out-of state offenders commit offenses within the state. Hence accurate estimates of the magnitude of the out-of-state offender problem in each jurisdiction are difficult to obtain.

Of importance, the out-of-state offender issue is unique to each individual jurisdiction. Some states may not face this issue as frequently as others, especially if they lack borders with multiple states or a large tourist population. Some states, (e.g., Washington) have few neighboring borders, whereas centrally-located states such as Tennessee and Kentucky have multiple borders. This creates conditions for a more significant out-of-state offender problem. As it relates to tourism, a state such as Florida, which is known to attract travelers each winter, is likely to encounter a much larger out-of-state offender problem than a jurisdiction like Nebraska.

Among those jurisdictions that do endeavor to track these statistics, estimates vary. Anecdotally, Colorado estimates that they have approximately 400 out-of-state interlock offenders each year. Conversely, according to one interlock manufacturer, more than 10% of their Kansas participants are monitored in Missouri. Similarly, another manufacturer reported that 3.7% of clients were served outside of their home state in the previous month.

To better understand and quantify this problem, mechanisms are needed to better track the movements of offenders across jurisdictions.

2.a) What are some factors that have contributed to an increase in the number of out-of-state interlock offenders?

Similar to offenders moving out-of-state to avoid license revocation and suspensions, offenders may seek to avoid the interlock requirement. Increased drunk driving enforcement and the growing amount of interlock legislation and subsequent interlock programs have led to an increase in the number of offenders subject to an interlock requirement. Consequentially, there are more offenders to track and more offenders who may be motivated to avoid interlock requirements through re-location.

Today’s society is increasingly mobile, and as a result, people are more likely to move from one jurisdiction to another. Additionally, the economy has produced an environment in which many persons have found it necessary to re-locate to find and/or sustain employment. People need to move where they can find work and, in many instances, this means moving to another state. Other reasons why an individual might be inclined to re-locate include: family needs, climate change, retirement, schooling, and finances. These moves may be permanent or temporary depending on the reason. 

3) What are some of the barriers associated with tracking this offender population?

Offender compliance. Generally speaking, many offenders do not notify the state in which they were originally licensed of a change in address or of a driving offense in another jurisdiction. Likewise, offenders do not notify the state to which they have moved of their impaired driving offense(s) or license status. For these reasons, it is difficult to know with certainty where an offender resides at any given time and if they are meeting/have met any interlock requirements. If offenders have re-located without notifying the appropriate authorities and the receiving state is unaware of the new residency, offenders will likely be able to avoid installing an interlock and drive unlicensed instead. This has important implications for public safety because in the absence of an interlock, there is no way to prevent these offenders from driving while impaired.

State procedures.
Each jurisdiction has different procedures to manage out-of-state offenders or, in the case of interlock, may have no system in place to manage offenders under the requirements of another jurisdiction. Whereas some jurisdictions mandate that offenders abide by the re-licensing requirements of the state where they reside, other jurisdictions may insist upon offenders complying with the re-licensing requirements of the state where the impaired driving offense was committed. This inconsistent approach to managing this population makes navigating this process difficult not only for licensing authorities, but also for offenders who may not be aware of what is required of them.

In addition, the level of communication between jurisdictions varies. Without procedures and protocols in place, jurisdictions are often unable or unwilling to notify another jurisdiction about a new impaired driving offense or of the re-location of an offender. One barrier to notification is that program administrators may not have contact information for their counterparts in other jurisdictions. Another barrier is no designation of authority, in either legislation or administrative rules, to make such notifications.

Finally, there can be additional hurdles when a jurisdiction has split authority over the interlock program. For example, in Missouri, one agency is responsible for one part of the program dealing with the devices and vendors. Another completely separate state agency is responsible for all licensing issues. Reciprocity may then need to negotiated and handled with not one, but two separate authorities.

Program model.
Variations in alcohol interlock program models across jurisdictions make it particularly difficult to transition offenders from one program to another. For example, if one jurisdiction has an administrative program, and the other jurisdiction has a court-based program, then determining how to make the transition can be challenging. Formal protocols or mechanisms to facilitate such transfers do not exist across agencies in most jurisdictions.

Similarly, program participation requirements may differ based on the category of offender (e.g., first versus repeat) and program structure. Programs may have a system of voluntary participation whereas others mandate participation for certain classes of offenders. As such, participation may be required for an offender in one jurisdiction, but be voluntary in another. Participation can also be dictated by the number of impaired driving offenses on the driving record and/or the BrAC level; these also vary by jurisdiction (i.e., one jurisdiction may have mandatory provisions for high-BAC (>.15) offenders, while other jurisdictions may not). For these reasons, it can be very complicated and time-consuming for both the receiving state and the state of origin to resolve these differences and, ultimately, to track this population of offenders.

4) Why is there heightened concern about out-of-state offenders?

The heightened concern about out-of-state offenders and interlock restrictions can be explained by several factors. First, interlock programs are growing, and the number of participants has increased dramatically in the last few years. This increase makes the management of an interlock program more demanding and complicated, notably in relation to ensuring that eligible offenders have the device installed and are effectively monitored throughout their participation in the program. 

The advancement of interlocks as a tool to prevent impaired driving offenses has led more states to pass interlock laws and many of these programs were developed and implemented quickly with little consideration given to the issue of out-of-state offenders. The question of how to handle these offenders arose post-implementation as these cases became more common. Without processes and reciprocal agreements in place, offenders have been able to intentionally avoid interlock installation or have found the process of trying to meet their interlock requirement too cumbersome which is a deterrent to program participation. This has resulted in a population, with a history of driving after drinking, driving illegally without an interlock.

Further compounding these issues is that there is no established precedent to guide the development of reciprocal arrangements. A variety of concerns regarding which jurisdiction’s program and regulations should be applied to an offender have complicated the problem. The difference in how a state manages their interlock program (e.g., court-based versus administrative), interlock legislation, restrictions, classes of offenders, and differences in license suspension periods have made it difficult to simply transition an offender from one jurisdiction to another.

The overarching concern is that due to the complex nature of the out-of-state offender problem, a certain segment of the impaired driving offender population fails to fulfill interlock requirements and remains unlicensed. In other words, they have the opportunity to continue drinking and driving.

5) Why is it important to be familiar with interlock programs in neighboring states?

Familiarity with interlock program requirements in neighbouring jurisdictions is a first step towards the development of reciprocal arrangements. Knowledge about program models, eligibility criteria, approved devices, monitoring frameworks, treatment requirements and availability, program duration, and exit criteria can help program administrators begin to identify common ground that can form the basis for offender supervision. Such knowledge can also help streamline the decision-making process as program administrators become better positioned to handle these cases.  

It is also necessary to establish contacts and open communication channels with counterparts in neighboring jurisdictions. In the event that offenders do alert their state that they are moving, program administrators can contact the program administrator in the destination state and work cooperatively to develop a course of action to facilitate interlock program entry. Processes to manage out-of-state offenders can become increasingly efficient and effective over time with the development and maintenance of these agency relationships. Through these connections, jurisdictions can work collaboratively to identify processes, which are mutually agreeable, to uniformly and consistently manage this population of offenders.

6) What is the difference between a hardship permit, an interlock license, and an interlock-restricted license? How is this relevant to reciprocity?

There are several types of driver licenses that may be issued to offenders who have an interlock requirement. It is especially important that law enforcement is familiar with these licenses and is able to distinguish the type of license or permit and potential interlock restriction that an offender holds when making roadside stops. Officers who are able to identify interlock-restricted drivers are in a position to lay appropriate charges should they be warranted.    

Hardship permit/license.
This license allows offenders with extenuating circumstances to continue driving, but with clear restrictions. Offenders are allowed to drive to and from employment and/or school, probation meetings, court hearings, and treatment. A hardship permit may allow an offender to drive for the purposes of employment if driving a vehicle (e.g., delivery van) is required as part of work duties. However, this is not consistent from one jurisdiction to another. Normally, the hardship permit or license is also restricted to the issuing jurisdiction. The neighboring jurisdictions are under no obligation to honor a hardship permit or license.

An interlock may or may not be a part of the restriction of the hardship permit/license. If an interlock is a part of the restriction, there may be circumstances under which the offender is allowed to drive without the interlock. An example of this would be an offender who is required to drive a company vehicle during their course of work duties. They may be allowed to do so without the installation of an interlock to prevent undue hardship on the employer and to allow an offender to maintain their job (this is often referred to as an employer exemption).

Interlock license.
Some jurisdictions issue a special interlock license which is visually different from a standard driver’s license issued to law-abiding drivers. This type of license is beneficial because law enforcement can easily identify the interlock restriction on the hard license. There is typically a fee associated with obtaining an interlock license; these fees support program administration or specific program components such as vendor oversight. 

Interlock-restricted license.
In some jurisdictions, the interlock restriction is not noted on the physical license. Instead, it appears as a code in the driver record. This is not an ideal approach since it requires law enforcement to query the driver record during each stop to identify the restriction and  determine whether a driver has an interlock requirement.

7) How much time does it take to manage an out-of-state offender versus a resident offender?

It is generally agreed that the management of out-of-state offenders is more time-consuming in comparison to the management of resident interlock-restricted drivers. Several jurisdictions report it takes an additional two to three hours at the front-end of the process for each offender, as well as the potential for additional hours to monitor these offenders. The negotiation of a reciprocal arrangement with another jurisdiction can be a lengthy process as operational practices must be defined and an agreement regarding devices, reporting, and monitoring has to be reached.

In addition, much of this undertaking is dependent on offenders who are quite often unmotivated to complete the process. It is offenders who must complete paperwork, meet program eligibility requirements, and install approved interlock devices. Program staff typically spend more time helping out-of-state offenders navigate this process and walk them through the steps they must complete in order to enter the interlock program and begin the re-licensing process.

There are also issues with respect to confidentiality that jurisdictions must adhere to which can impede the sharing of information and further slow reciprocal arrangements.   

Finally, inconsistent program requirements with regard to device features, configuration profiles1, monitoring, and the use of graduated sanctions and/or performance-based exit can pose challenges which are complicated to negotiate. Some jurisdictions may insist on offenders being subject to harsher penalties (such as longer participation periods or stricter violation definitions) than are currently in place in another state. It is typically quite challenging to accommodate such requests.

Generally speaking, these systems are not easy to navigate in any jurisdiction. Offenders who are not motivated to maneuver through the system may become frustrated and opt to drive unlicensed due to perceived inconvenience. Any system for out-of-state offenders should endeavor to facilitate participation. Unfortunately, the opposite is frequently true as extra barriers that offenders must overcome are created that ultimately deter them from remaining in the licensing system.

1 A configuration profile is a report of the settings of the optional features on the alcohol interlock. If there is an administrative program in the jurisdiction, these settings are typically determined by the interlock program statute or administrative rule.

8.a) What is the Driver License Compact (DLC)? What is the Driver License Agreement (DLA)?

The Driver License Compact is an agreement between jurisdictions to promote highway safety by exchanging information concerning license suspensions and traffic violations. The compact works reciprocally as non-resident states provide information to home states about traffic violations and convictions that occurred while the offender was out-of-state. Likewise, home states provide information to other states if an offender seeks to obtain a license in a new jurisdiction. However, in order to apply home state laws to a new offender, an equivalent statute must be in place.

The DLC has been in place since 1960. All states are currently a part of the compact with the exceptions of Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
The Driver License Agreement supersedes the DLC as well as the Non-Resident Violator Compact (NRVC). Under the DLA, all member states are required to honor licenses issued by other member states, report traffic convictions to the licensing state, maintain a complete driver’s history, and prohibit confiscation of out-of-state driver licenses for minor violations. All out-of-state convictions, including impaired driving offenses, must be noted on the record and the home state applies its corresponding laws. At present, only Arkansas, Connecticut, and Massachusetts are member states. 

For more information about the DLC and DLA, please refer to AAMVA’s website: http://www.aamva.org/drivers-license-compacts/

8.b) How can the DLC/DLA impact the eligibility of offenders to obtain a driver’s license in other jurisdictions?

This agreement requires jurisdictions to honor driver licensing conditions imposed by the state holding/issuing the license, including any interlock restrictions or requirements. This means that out-of-state offenders who apply for a new license in another jurisdiction must complete any conditions of re-licensing (as a result of suspension or revocation for impaired driving or other offenses) before the new jurisdiction can issue a driver’s license. This practice is important as it ensures that offenders are not able to avoid licensing requirements by re-locating.  

9) How is the management of offenders who have an interlock as a condition of court supervision/diversion programs carried out when they re-locate?

The management of interlock-restricted drivers whose restriction is imposed by a court authority is significantly different from processes used by administrative programs, and can vary depending on the level of court or probation supervision that is available for different classes of offenders. Repeat offenders typically receive some level of probation supervision that requires regular contact with a probation officer and may include random testing for abstinence, home visits, and weekly contact with an officer among other requirements. Conversely, first offenders may be on unsupervised probation (i.e., they do not have to report to a probation officer in-person and are not subject to random abstinence testing or home visits; also referred to as ‘bench’ or ‘paper probation’).

In the case of repeat offenders, their re-location to another jurisdiction is subject to structured procedures and approval processes in accordance with Federal legislation that governs inter-state transfer of offenders (i.e., the Interstate Compact Offender Tracking System (ICOTS)). However, first offenders are not subject to this legislation.

Further complicating this issue, courts vary widely in what is required of each offender and what constitutes violations from one court circuit to another. Therefore, reciprocity agreements and offender monitoring must be specific to each court circuit rules. This adds to the amount of time and resources necessary to implement a reciprocal agreement.

10.a) What is the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision (ICAOS)?

The Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision (ICAOS) is an agreement among the 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands that governs how and when states can transfer probation and parole supervision authority across state lines. The ICAOS rules outline criteria necessary to facilitate an interstate transfer.

The Interstate Commission oversees the day-to-day oversight of the compact between states. Offenders must have a good reason to have their probation or parole supervision transferred to another jurisdiction. They must also be able to demonstrate that the proposed plan in the receiving state provides a higher likelihood of success and provides the development of stability factors such as reuniting families and establishing meaningful employment. Both state-sentenced offenders and county probationers are eligible for transfer with certain limitations.

The Interstate Commission promulgates rules to achieve the goals of the compact, ensures an opportunity for input from and timely notice to victims and to jurisdictions where defined offenders are authorized to travel or to re-locate across state lines. The Interstate Commission has established a system of uniform data collection, provides access to information on active cases by authorized criminal justice officials, and coordinates regular reporting of Compact activities to heads of state councils, state executive, judicial, and legislative branches and criminal justice administrators.

The Interstate Commission monitors compliance with the rules governing interstate movement of offenders and initiates interventions to address and correct non-compliance. Finally, the Commission can coordinate training and education regarding regulations of interstate movement of offenders for officials involved in such activity.

For more information on ICAOS, please refer to www.interstatecompact.org/

10.b) How can the Interstate Compact Offender Tracking System (ICOTS) be utilized to track interlock offenders?

ICOTS could be a convenient tool to assist in the tracking and management of offenders requiring an interlock as part of a court-based program.

ICOTS is a web-based system which facilitates the transfer of supervision for probationers and parolees from one state to another. ICOTS processes transfer requests for the 50 states and three territories which are part of ICAOS.
The system issues notifications of departures, arrivals, progress, violations, and case closures. It also provides a means for miscellaneous communication exchanges which help promote effective supervision strategies between states (ICAOS 2013).

The ICOTS system houses all compact offender information for cases that are active as well as historical records. With this in mind, the system may be of use with out-of-state interlock offenders by communicating offender information regarding interlock status. If an offender is moving to another state, the system would alert the appropriate authorities who are currently responsible for the offender. Similarly, the receiving state’s interlock monitoring body would be alerted that an out-of-state interlock offender is entering the jurisdiction and the case could be transferred accordingly. The system would also alert both states if the offender violates or completes the program.

If interested in learning more about ICOTS, please refer to: http://www.interstatecompact.org/ICOTS/WhatisICOTS.aspx

11) What steps should jurisdictions take to manage out-of-state offenders with interlock requirements?

Most jurisdictions have not developed a specific plan for dealing with out-of-state offenders. Instead, offenders are dealt with on a case-by-case basis. In order to develop a plan that can be implemented to better manage out-of-state offenders, strong relationships are needed with neighboring states to facilitate open communication and information exchange. As a first step towards the development of a reciprocity plan, there are two courses of action that jurisdictions can consider:

  1. Jurisdictions can agree to apply program requirements from one jurisdiction or the other. For example, states may choose for an offender to remain in the program in which the license was issued regardless of where the impaired driving offense occurred or where the offender resides. To illustrate, an offender with a Missouri license who resides in Texas, where he is convicted of an impaired driving offense would be required to submit to the Missouri interlock program. The other option is for the offender to meet the requirements of the program of the state they are moving to or in which they will now be temporarily residing. For example, if the offender commits an impaired driving offense in Texas, but lives in Arizona, the offender would be obligated to participate in Arizona’s interlock program.

  2. Jurisdictions can agree to find common ground somewhere in the middle. The goal is to ensure that offenders have an interlock installed and are monitored in some fashion. For example, it may be decided that an offender either stays within or joins the interlock program that has “harsher” provisions or stronger monitoring framework (e.g., if an offender is in a mandatory interlock program but is moving to a state with a voluntary program, the offender would remain within the mandatory program). To facilitate such compromise, agreements would need to be made with the receiving state regarding transference of monitoring responsibilities or monitoring would need to be carried out via phone with the original program administrators (i.e., offender phones into their previous state).

Once these decisions are finalized between neighbouring states, steps can be taken to help expedite the process. For example, each state can develop a website, PDF, or hand-out that outlines all the necessary information that other states may need regarding the state’s interlock program and approved devices. By having this information readily available, other program administrators will know how to go about contacting the appropriate authority and will also be in a position to provide offenders with accurate information (i.e., what is required of them). 

12) What are some interlock program participation considerations that must be addressed in order to develop reciprocal agreements?

Interlock program features vary across states, meaning that offenders will likely be dealt with differently if they switch to a program in another jurisdiction. These features must be considered when pursuing the most efficient solution for handling out-of-state offenders. It should be decided at the outset of an offender’s re-location how these differences will be addressed by either the home state or the receiving state. The following are examples of program features which should be considered when developing such reciprocal arrangements.

Length of hard suspension and interlock supervision periods.
These time periods vary among states. Agreement is needed as to whether offenders would be subject to lengthier or shorter hard suspension periods and program participation. This would largely be a function of which program’s requirements an offender is subject to. There is the potential for dispute over such requirements as offenders could raise claims about the fairness of being required to serve longer suspensions/interlock terms than others.

Approved vendors and devices.
If an offender already has a device installed in their vehicle before they re-locate, the device would need to be approved in the receiving state. If this state does not have the same approved vendors and/or devices as the state of origin, offenders may be required to pay for the installation of a different device. Program authorities could work with vendors in these instances to negotiate reduced fees so as not to place a greater burden on these offenders. There would also need to be verification that the device configuration profile matches the correct program.

Violation definitions
. Violation definitions vary across states and need to be clearly defined for offenders at the beginning of their period of program participation. All offenders must know which actions constitute program non-compliance and the associated consequences. Education about violations should occur at the start of any program, but it is of particular importance if an offender is being transitioned from one program to another. For example, an offender’s previous state may have considered three start-up breath tests that are over the preset limit as one violation whereas the new state may consider only one start-up breath test over the preset limit a violation. If offenders are not aware of the new violation definitions, they will be unprepared for consequences.

Reporting of violations/monitoring.
One jurisdiction and a single agency within that jurisdiction must assume responsibility for monitoring out-of-state offenders. Vendors must know which agency should be receiving violation reports and other relevant notifications. This is especially important if the program has performance-based exit criteria.

Screening/assessment and/or treatment requirements.
Each state has different assessment processes and treatment requirements as well as variation in access to and availability of treatment services. Treatment is an important component of offender rehabilitation and should not be overlooked if an offender switches programs or attempts to forgo the interlock program altogether. If an offender is relocating mid-way through their participation in treatment, it is crucial that they are placed into an equivalent program and can continue treatment in their new state.

Classes of offenders (e.g., first, repeat, high-BAC).
Offender class may play a major role in the rationale behind an offender’s decision to re-locate. For instance, an offender may currently reside in a state that has mandatory interlock provisions for all first offenses, however, a border state may have no such provision. Offenders might officially change their address to the bordering state, without actually moving, in order to bypass the mandatory interlock requirement. Likewise, offenders from a state where interlocks are not required for a first-time offense may move to a new state that has mandatory interlocks for first offenders. It is unlikely that these individuals would voluntarily reveal their offender status to licensing authorities. To dissuade offenders from moving (or changing addresses) for the purpose of avoiding an interlock requirement, it may be beneficial for bordering states to agree that the program with harsher provisions retain or accept the offender.

Agency/entity that has authority.
It should be clear at the outset to each jurisdiction and to offenders which state’s agency will have authority over the offender. This is crucial to ensure that offenders are tracked, monitored, and held accountable for their behavior while in the interlock program. It is also helpful to specify which agency will receive the installation verification, device data, and violation notifications as well as any program fees.

13) What are some strategies that jurisdictions are currently utilizing to address reciprocity that can be implemented elsewhere?

At present, a viable option that program administrators might consider to facilitate reciprocity is the development of a set of minimum criteria that would be applied to the interlock supervision of all out-of-state offenders. This would include, for example, a list of acceptable devices, violations, reporting practices as well as a standard hard suspension period, interlock supervision period, and alcohol education program. Those jurisdictions that have vendors in common, or that have similar program models are in the best position to create these types of arrangements and such a set of criteria as the monitoring process can be facilitated through vendor.

From a legal perspective, it will be important to consider the issue of equality as part of any solution to ensure that all interlock offenders are treated the same and that out-of-state offenders do not receive preferential treatment or a more significant sanction.

Additional strategies that are worthy of consideration include the creation of relationships with interlock program counterparts in neighboring jurisdictions or in those states where the majority of out-of-state offenders are originating from relocating to following an impaired driving offense. In this regard, networking and establishing contacts in the agencies responsible for administering interlock programs and working collaboratively with these individuals is of vital importance.

Another approach to begin to address this problem is to select a handful of out-of-state test cases and document the process as it evolves noting any barriers and how they were addressed and/or overcome. Many jurisdictions currently handle the issue of reciprocity using this case-by-case method.

Other important considerations and strategies to facilitate the establishment of reciprocal arrangements and to detect out-of-state offenders include the following:

  • Review of history. Past driver history needs to be verified when a new driver has come into a state (this is where systems such as ICOTS or the DLA may prove beneficial). This will enable the new state to assess whether or not a driver is eligible for a license. If the driver is still suspended or under restriction in their home state, these same restrictions need to be applied to their new license or they may not be eligible for a license at all. It is important for states who are receiving a new driver to do a thorough background check before issuing a new license in order to prevent an offender from avoiding an interlock requirement and ensure that they abide by the Driver License Agreement. For example, Virginia will not issue a driver a new license if the offender’s license is still suspended in the state which they previously lived.

  • Communication. If the licensing authority is made aware that an offender is moving out of state, the agency should ask them for a new address and contact information. This will help ensure that communication can remain open regardless of whether the offender remains in the interlock program. Communication facilitates the tracking of an offender and can assist in determining whether they entered an interlock program upon re-location.

Communication should also be established and remain open between interlock program administrators, particularly those from neighboring states. If an out-of-state driver commits an impaired driving offense in a state they travel through, that state should notify the licensing state immediately so that they can apply sanctions accordingly.

  • Training law enforcement. It is important that law enforcement officers are trained to detect drivers who have an interlock requirement. Furthermore, officers need to be aware of what interlocks look like and how to verify that they are installed and properly functioning. Each state uses different types of licenses, and not all states include a notation on the hard license to indicate the interlock restriction. Law enforcement must be able to identify interlock restricted licenses or interlock licenses from bordering states, as well as their own state, to ensure an out-of-state offender is not driving without a required interlock.
Lessons from West Virginia. One state that has taken steps to create an informal process to handle out-of-state residents is West Virginia. The DMV in that state encountered a situation where they were losing a large percentage of their interlock offenders, particularly repeat offenders, across state lines. In response, a protocol was developed to address the out-of-state offender problem. West Virginia program administrators noted that it was beneficial to work collaboratively with colleagues in other jurisdictions and to document the process utilized to establish reciprocal arrangements. Through the documentation of the process, strategies were formulated to resolve similar issues in the future which made the reciprocal process more efficient. The West Virginia protocol can be seen in the following reciprocity flowchart.

14) What role can interlock manufacturers play in assisting jurisdictions in managing out-of-state offenders?

Alcohol interlock device manufacturers should be considered key players in establishing reciprocity from one program to another and tracking interlock-restricted drivers. Manufacturers have the ability to track offenders based on which service center they are using to service their device. From this information, they are able to see if an offender has re-located or may have traveled temporarily to another jurisdiction. It may be beneficial to set up a system with manufacturers in which the originating state is alerted if one of their offenders has a device serviced in another jurisdiction.

If it is not possible for an offender to join the program of the state in which they are residing, it is important that the originating state notifies the manufacturer. The offender must receive accurate information as to how to complete their interlock participation in the state where they have re-located. For example, states can develop a form for offenders to give to service centers that would include all the necessary information to service the offender’s device under the proper regulations. Manufacturers need to train staff accordingly in order to differentiate between the various state requirements.

15) Are there opportunities for a national initiative to address this issue?

As interlock programs continue to grow and an increasing number of impaired driving offenders are required to install an interlock, there is greater need for a process to manage and track this population.

Due to these issues, it may be efficient to develop a nationwide “out-of-state” offender program for those offenders who re-locate or commit an impaired driving offense in a state where they do not reside. This program would have particular stipulations regardless of originating and receiving states and would apply across the country. The benefit of such an approach would be the creation of a standard protocol which would increase uniformity in how these cases are handled as well as eliminate many of the existing difficulties and barriers to cooperation. It would seem that with the existence of the Driver License Agreement and the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision (ICAOS) create a foundation that could begin to facilitate the creation of a tracking and monitoring system for interlock offenders who move across jurisdictions.

Another important feature that could be developed is a nationwide configuration profile agreed upon by all jurisdictions as well as standard violation definitions. This would allow for an efficient and streamlined approach to transitioning offenders from one interlock program to another because the device would not require re-configuration.
The offender would be held accountable to the same violation types as his or her previous state’s program and would not need to readjust their device. This would simplify the process as states would no longer need to negotiate which program guidelines an offender would be required to follow. Also, there would be less complexity and fewer hurdles for an offender to enter into a program.

Having a common code on the National Driving Record (NDR) for interlocked required offenders could also serve as a starting point for each jurisdiction. With the ability to immediately identify an interlocked-restricted offender by looking at the NDR, jurisdictions could save valuable time and resources trying to determine if an offender should be included in an interlock program.

Moving forward, it is important that jurisdictions work to ensure that offenders do not avoid interlock supervision through re-location. At present, options are being considered to create such a national approach to address the issue. This will take time and require negotiation but is an effort being explored by the Association of Ignition Interlock Program Administrators (AIIPA).

Conclusion

The issue of jurisdictional reciprocity continues to be a cause for concern among interlock program administrators. Not an insignificant number of offenders fail to complete a required period of interlock supervision due to impediments in supervising offenders that reside in other jurisdictions. However, quantifying the magnitude of this issue is problematic due to limitations associated with tracking offenders using existing data systems. The problem tends to be more pronounced in smaller jurisdictions with multiple borders where travel across other states borders is common for work or leisure purposes.

There are a range of aspects of interlock program participation that are important to consider as part of any reciprocal arrangement solution. The most challenging aspect is often the length of the hard license suspension period. The length of the period across jurisdictions ranges from no suspension or  a very short suspension to several years.
Other considerations include the length of interlock program participation, types of offenders eligible to participate, approved devices and vendors, violation definitions, reporting of violations (i.e., frequency and format), screening, assessment, or treatment requirements, and agency authority.

To begin to address the issue of jurisdictional reciprocity, it will be important to increase understanding of the magnitude and characteristics of the problem. In this regard, jurisdictions are encouraged to pursue efforts to track this group of offenders.

Regardless of the nature of the solution that is developed, it is clear that involvement of driver licensing authorities and interlock vendors will be critical to the success of any strategy. While program administrators are the ultimate authority in relation to the legal licensing of offenders to drive, they are not well-positioned to track the movement of these offenders unless offenders apply for a driver’s license in another jurisdiction and the state receives  notification.
Conversely, vendors are well-positioned to track the movement of these offenders as they will need to have the interlock device serviced in order for the vehicle to remain operational. Vendors also have the ability to manage the configuration profile of the device. This latter strategy may be more feasible for some vendors than others depending on their technical capabilities.

The most viable solution might involve the development of a set of minimum criteria that would be applied to the interlock supervision of all out-of-state offenders. This would include a list of acceptable devices, violations, reporting practices as well as a standard hard suspension period, interlock supervision period, and alcohol education program.
However, from a legal perspective, it will be important to consider the issue of equality as part of any solution to ensure that all interlock offenders are treated the same and that those out-of-state interlock offenders do not receive what is perceived as preferential treatment.

In conclusion, jurisdictions must ultimately decide whether it is more important to have offenders monitored according to the requirements of their particular interlock program and risk that offenders will either avoid or fail to complete the interlock period and drive unlicensed; or whether it is more important that the offender serve the interlock period of supervision even though the supervision may not meet all the requirements in their particular jurisdiction but continue to remain in the driver licensing system. In the future, it is important that jurisdictions work collaboratively to ensure that offenders are not able to avoid interlock supervision through re-location.

Last updated: April 2014