Legal Concerns


There are a variety of legal concerns that have been raised regarding the use of alcohol interlocks with drunk driving offenders. These challenges relate to alternate explanations that may account for alcohol-positive readings to enable the offender to avoid sanctions or to factors that may reduce the likelihood that the device would be applied by the program authority as a sanction.

Alternate explanations for alcohol-positive readings may pertain to the way that the body metabolizes alcohol and how these processes can affect the alcohol readings captured by the device, the way that mouth alcohol can produce alcohol-positive readings, and what foods may result in alcohol-positive readings. Offenders may raise these issues or suggest that another driver was responsible for the alcohol-positive reading in order to provide an alternate explanation for alcohol-positive readings and avoid additional sanctions. In these instances, it is important that the court select an objective an unbiased expert witness who can respond to these challenges.

Other legal strategies that defence counsel may raise in order to discourage the program authority from applying the alcohol interlock device as a sanction to impaired drivers relates to the inconvenience the device may pose for family members, medical conditions that may make it difficult to provide a breath sample, the cost of the device and monitoring, and indigency.

Questions that are frequently raised and answers to them are provided below to assist program authorities in responding to such challenges.