If one is unfortunate enough to have to abide by an order to drive with an ignition interlock device, are there any criminal penalties for tampering with the machine, driving a vehicle without such a machine installed, or getting someone else to breathe into the interlock device?
Kansas sets out the criminal penalties for doing any of the above acts on an ignition interlock device in KSA 8-1017. This statute makes it a criminal act to do any of the above acts as well as makes it criminal for any person who starts a vehicle for another who is restricted to driving with an ignition interlock device. Along with any punishment for this misdemeanor, the Court will also have to extend or restart the restriction period of driving with the interlock device.
Prosecutors seem to have another strict libility offense in this statute as there does not seem to be any requirement of intent to be found guilty. Regardless of any medical emergency or other reason for tampering or circumventing the device, it seems that once a prosecutor shows it was tampreed with or circumvented, their job is done.
For the Defense, one common problem I believe a defense attorney would have is a simple misunderstanding of the restriction. Some drivers will have it on their personal car, but might not know that any other car they operate would also need one. What if a person needs to drive a work vehicle? Also, most households are multi-car households and it seems each car would need a device if the restriction states the driver cannot drive any car without said device.
The legislature seems to want to send a clear message to anyone who would try to get around this device or anyone who would help a person get around this device. The policy my be clear on why the legislature would want to criminalize such actions, but it also seems that there should be clear policies on how these restrictions are explained to a driver.
Until next time, drive safe!