Ignition Interlock Device

In June, 2015 SB 133 went into effect mandating the courts to require an ignition interlock device installed in vehicles of those charged with DUI aggravator, DUI Refusal, or DUI-Multiple Offenders. There remains a lot of questions regarding this new law. The information below was sent by the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts to Judges and Clerks to assist them in understanding the mandates of the new law.

SB 133 - Ignition Interlock Licenses and Devices Frequently Asked Questions

What is an ignition interlock device?

"Ignition interlock device" (IID) means a device, certified by the Transportation Cabinet for use in this Commonwealth under KRS 189A.500(1), that connects a motor vehicle ignition system or motorcycle ignition system to a breath alcohol analyzer and prevents a motor vehicle ignition or motorcycle ignition from starting, and from continuing to operate, if a driver's breath alcohol concentration exceeds 0.02, as measured by the device. KRS 189A.005(2).

What is an ignition interlock license?

"Ignition interlock license" (IIL) means a motor vehicle or motorcycle operator's license issued or granted by the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky that, with limited exceptions, permits a person to drive only motor vehicles or motorcycles equipped with a functioning ignition interlock device. KRS 189A.005(5).

When is a defendant eligible to get an ignition interlock license and device?

A defendant may request an ignition interlock license under the following circumstances:

  • When subject to a pretrial license suspension pursuant to KRS 189A.200, if the defendant waives review of the suspension.
  • Upon conviction of a DUI 1st offense with aggravating circumstances; a 2nd or subsequent offense under KRS 189A.010(1)(a), (b), (e), or (f); or a conviction for driving on a DUI suspended license.

Upon acquittal, if the defendant is not convicted of a violation of KRS 189A.010(1) and the court finds the defendant refused an alcohol concentration or substance abuse test.

Eligibility is based on activity in your five (5) year driver history record. If you would like to review your record prior to submitting an application, three (3) year records are available online at https://secure.kentucky.gov/dhronline

Five (5) year records are available at the Central Office in Frankfort and district field offices throughout the state. Field offices location and contact information are available at:


If there are discrepancies on your driving record call the Division of Driver Licensing at (502) 564-1257.

What charges are not eligible for an ignition interlock license?

There is no express authority for an ignition interlock license to be issued to a person charged with KRS 189A.010(c) or (d) (operating under the influence of a controlled substance, not alcohol) or any other offense not listed above. Presumably, a judge may still order an ignition interlock device as a condition of bond release for other offenses, but there is no explicit authority in statute for applying day-for-day credit for suspension or revocation on other offenses, such as a DUI 1st offense (no aggravating circumstances).

You are currently suspended for any of the following convictions appearing on your driver history record pursuant to KRS 186.560:

Murder or manslaughter from the operation of a vehicle;
DUI with something other than a motor vehicle;
Perjury involving the registration or regulation of vehicle;
Felony in which the motor vehicle is used;
Conviction of three (3)charges of reckless driving within a twelve (12) month period;
Conviction of a hit and run;
Conviction of theft of a motor vehicle or parts (also includes under 18 years of age);
No proof of insurance, upon conviction of second and subsequent offense;
Conviction for fraudulent use of a driver license to (attempt) purchase of alcoholic beverages;
Conviction of operating a motor vehicle, motor cycle or moped without an operator's license; or
Being found incompetent to stand trial pursuant to KRS Chapter 504.
Committing of an offense under KRS 186.560;
Mandatory license revocation due to a finding of the medical review board (MRB);
Causing or contributing to, by reckless or unlawful operation of a motor vehicle, an accident resulting in death, injury, or property damage;
Mental or physical disability, including seizures (MRB);
Habitual reckless or negligent driving (KRS 13B);
Obtaining a license without submitting a proper application;
Presenting false or misleading information regarding residency, citizenship, religious convictions, immigration status;
Failure to take and pass an examination required by KRS 186.480 (KSP examination);
Conviction of assault and battery resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle;
Failure to appear in response to a summons or citation issued by a law enforcement officer;
Failure to appear pursuant to an order of the court to demonstrate proof of security (insurance);
Failure to provide proof of insurance, upon three (3) or more convictions within a five (5) year period;
Child support arrearage of six (6) months or more pursuant to KRS 205.712;
Failure to respond to a subpoena or warrant relating to child support or paternity;
Ineligibility to operate a vehicle pursuant to KRS 532.536;
Ordered to pay reimbursement for incarceration, restitution or unpaid judgments pursuant to KRS 532.356;
Taxpayer delinquency, upon written notification from Revenue; or
Conviction in any other state of an offense that would be grounds for suspension or revocation in this state, except speeding offenses - unless they hold a CDL and unless the conviction is more than five (5) years old, excluding felony traffic offenses or habitual violator offenses.

What is day-for-day credit?

A defendant may receive credit on a day-for-day basis for each day the person held a valid ignition interlock license to reduce the applicable period of license suspension or revocation or any required interlock license period. KRS 189A.070(7), 189A.107, 189A.200.

What is a required interlock license period?

Acquiring an ignition interlock on a pretrial basis is voluntary on behalf of the defendant - they are not required to obtain an IIL/IID. However, upon conviction, mandatory ignition interlock periods apply for certain offenses.

At the time the case is adjudicated, if no other ignition interlock order is already in place, KRS 189A.340(1) says that at the time the court revokes a person's license under any provision of KRS 189A.070 for a qualifying offense, "the court shall also order that, at the conclusion of the license revocation, any license the person shall be issued shall restrict the person to operating only a motor vehicle or motorcycle equipped with a functioning ignition interlock device."

The ignition interlock periods are as follows:

  • DUI 1st (Aggravating Circumstances) - 6 months
  • DUI 2nd - 12 months
  • DUI 3rd or subsequent - 30 months
    What is the process for getting an ignition interlock license and device?
    The defendant must file an application with the court requesting authorization to apply for an IIL from DOT. If the court grants permission, the defendant must then apply to DOT, paying a nonrefundable application fee not to exceed $200. DOT regulation states that this fee is not subject to reduction for indigency. If DOT determines the defendant is eligible, the defendant must have an IID installed on the vehicle(s) he or she designated to the court. Upon proof of installation of an IID, DOT will issue an IIL to the defendant.

What are the in-court steps for an ignition interlock license and device?

The defendant must file an AOC form application requesting authorization to apply for an IIL. There are 3 types of applications, depending on the stage of the case - pretrial (AOC 495.4), conviction (AOC-495.12), or post-acquittal (AOC-495.10). The judge must approve or deny the application. The county attorney shall review applications and may object to the issuance of an ignition interlock license. KRS 189A.400.

If pretrial, in addition to the pretrial license suspension order (AOC-341), the judge must also enter an interlock order (AOC 495.5), checking the box in section 7 to indicate the suspension period associated with that charge. DOT will use this information to set the maximum period for the defendant's ignition interlock license:

The defendant's regular operator's license will remain suspended until they have completed all the remaining steps for DOT. If they are not eligible for an interlock license, or if they fail to obtain one, the suspension continues until conviction, acquittal, or the end of the statutory revocation period, whichever is earlier.

If at conviction or post-acquittal, the judge must enter an interlock order (AOC-495.13 or 495.11), completing section 5 to indicate the required license revocation period and mandatory ignition interlock period.

  • If the defendant was previously granted an interlock pretrial, the judge would indicate whether the previously ordered IIL should continue. If so, DOT will apply pretrial day-for-day credit against the revocation period and re-set the license expiration date to match the ordered period.
  • If the defendant applies for the first time at conviction, after twelve (12) months he or she will be eligible to request that the court order day-for-day credit for use of an ignition interlock against any remaining revocation or interlock periods. KRS 189A.070(7). AOC 495.9 (Order Amending Interlock License) may be used to send credit updates to DOT.

What if DOT determines that a defendant is not eligible for an ignition interlock license?

Even though the court has authorized the defendant to apply for an IIL, the Transportation Cabinet may nevertheless determine the defendant is not eligible for a license based on out-of- state records or other information in his or her driving history record.

What if the defendant does not apply at arraignment, but later requests an IIL/IID?

KRS 189A.200(5) and KRS 189A.340(2)(a) indicate that there is no limit on "the person's right to apply for an ignition interlock license during any period of suspension or revocation arising from the same incident."

What if the defendant is indigent?

The court shall require the person to pay the reasonable cost of leasing or buying, installing, servicing, and monitoring the device. If the court determines the defendant is indigent, using the sliding scale adopted by the Supreme Court of Kentucky (Supreme Court Order 2015-16, AP Part XVII, Ignition Interlock), the court may order the defendant to pay less than the full amount of costs. The ignition interlock provider is required to accept that amount as payment in full. KRS 189A.420(7).

The defendant would provide the court with an Affidavit of Indigency and Request for Reduced Costs (AOC 495.8). The judge would indicate the reduced percentage of fees the defendant has to pay on the interlock order.

What is a work exception?

A defendant who has an IIL may request that the court give him or her a work exception so that he or she may operate an employer's vehicle which is not equipped with an ignition interlock device during working hours. The request for a work exception must be made on the application to the court, not to DOT, since only the judge can grant it.

Even if the judge grants a work exception, the defendant is restricted from using a non-ignition interlock equipped vehicle until the expiration of 30 days for a first offense or 12 months for a second or subsequent offense from the date of the issuance of an ignition interlock license.

Any defendant who is granted a work exception must keep a copy of the order on his/her person while operating an employer vehicle during working hours.

Is the defendant required to have an IID on every vehicle he or she owns?

No. Pursuant to DOT regulation, the defendant may designate a primary vehicle for device installation.

What if the defendant does not own a vehicle?

Pursuant to DOT regulation, the defendant may request to install that an IID on a vehicle not registered or titled in his or her name with the express, written consent of the motor vehicle's owner.

What if the defendant chooses not to get an ignition interlock license/device?

If a defendant elects not to get an ignition interlock license or device, his or her operator's license would remain suspended or revoked for the applicable statutory period. He or she would still be subject to the mandatory ignition interlock period and would not be eligible to obtain a regular operator license. KRS 189A.340.

Is the defendant still eligible for a hardship license?

No, offenses that fall within the purview of ignition interlock are not included in the hardship statute. In particular, KRS 189A.410(1)(b) limits hardship license eligibility to offenses is violation of 189A.010(c) or (d) or KRS 189A.010(1)(a), (b) or (e) first offenses without aggravating circumstances.

Will the defendant's license plates be subject to impoundment?

For a second or subsequent offense, unless the defendant provides proof at the time of sentencing that the requirements for an ignition interlock license have been met, the license plates on all the motor vehicles owned by him or her, solely or jointly, shall be impounded. KRS 189A.085.

What if the defendant violates the terms of the interlock license?

Ignition interlock providers are required by regulation to notify the county attorney if they observe violations, such as a breath test indicating an alcohol concentration at the fail point or above, hiding one's identity from the interlock system's camera, failure to provide a minimum number of samples, or tampering.

Upon a finding of a violation of any of the requirements of an ignition interlock license, the court shall dissolve such an order and the person shall receive no credit toward the remaining period of revocation. KRS 189A.070(8), 189A.090(4). The statute is silent about allowing the license to remain in effect but extending the remaining time period. Any order dissolving or modifying an interlock license should be sent immediately to DOT.

Does the court have to order that the ignition interlock license be removed?

DOT will record the court-ordered period for the IIL in their system, and will notify the defendant in advance of the expected expiration. The judge does not need to take any further steps regarding the license unless:

  • There is a finding that the defendant violated the terms of the IIL and the license is to be dissolved; or
  • The defendant applies following 12 months of a revocation for day-for-day credit against any remaining revocation or interlock period.
    Any orders reducing or terminating an ignition interlock license should specify the amount of time credited or reduced. AOC 495.9 (Order Amending Interlock License) may be used for this purpose.