Texas Lawmaker Proposes Mandatory Interlock Devices For First Time DWI Offenders

A new law proposed this week by Texas State  Rep. Bill Callegari, would change the current law to require that persons convicted of Driving While Intoxicated in Texas have a so called Ignition Interlock Device installed on the car that they own, operate or “most regularly drive.”

For those who don’t know, an Ignition Interlock device is a machine installed in a car that disallows the car from starting if the machine detects the presence of alcohol.  The machine requires the person to breathe into a tube and the machine detects the presence or absence of breath alcohol.

Under the current state of the law, people convicted of a first Driving While Intoxicated case in Texas are not required to have an Interlock device installed unless their alcohol concentration is .15 or higher.  The Court always has discretion to impose the device as a condition of supervision but it is not mandatory and, as a practical matter, is not often done.

The new proposed law, known as H.B. 506 will deprive individual Judges of the discretion to impose or not impose the condition as appropriate.  Instead, it will make Ignition Interlock devices mandatory for even first time offenders.

Written by: Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian Last Updated : August 14, 2023