As Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyers, we deal with the consequences of failed and missed ignition interlock breath tests on a daily basis. In this article, I want to explain why a startup failure is such a big deal, especially because, it won’t, by itself, result in a formal ignition interlock violation, but will cause problems later on. The main point I want to make is that even a single startup test failure will present an obstacle down the road, when a person goes back to get his or her full license.
This whole startup failure issue is “contemplated” within the notice of proper ignition interlock use contained in every order that’s issued after a successful driver’s license restoration appeal. The Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) provides rather detailed instructions about how to avoid any kind of violation in the first place, and then what to do if a person misses or fails a test. Unfortunately, the SOS drops the ball on this issue because the notice of interlock use “strongly suggests” that a person who fails a startup test obtain a timely PBT or EtG test, when, in fact, it generally EXPECTS a person to get one of these tests, and often penalizes those who don’t do so.
Whatever one can say about all this, as the saying goes, “it is what it is,” and we have to deal with things as they are, not how we’d like them to be. The reality is that if you are required to use an ignition interlock after a driver’s license restoration appeal, or while on a Sobriety Court license, either you take the steps necessary to protect yourself, or you’ll regret not having done so later on. The day before this article was written (I write them about 2 months ahead of publication), I received an email from a previous client of mine, and the exchange of messages between us explains this whole issue better than anything else I could ever write. For reasons of confidentiality, I have redacted the client’s name and replaced it with [Previous Client], or [Previous]. Otherwise, I have copied and reprinted our emails below, exactly as they were written: