A conviction of operating while intoxicated (OWI) has serious repercussions. A High BAC conviction, however, can be even more disruptive.

Used when a driver is accused of operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.17 or higher, a High BAC charge can result in up to 180 days in jail, hundreds of hours of community service and a fine. Penalties also can include a driver’s license suspension of a year or more.

What is a restricted license?

If you are convicted of a High BAC offense and your license is suspended, you can’t apply for a restricted license immediately. With a first-time offense, for example, you must wait 45 days before applying for a restricted license. Then, if approved, you must complete another step: the installation of an ignition interlock device.

A breath alcohol ignition interlock device (often referred to as a BAIID) has to be installed on every vehicle you plan to operate. It will prevent the car from starting if it detects a BAC above 0.025.

After installation is completed, you can submit proof of the device’s installation to the secretary of state’s office – opening the door for your restricted license.

What you can do with a restricted license

A restricted license does not offer total legal freedom. There are limitations on where you can drive, and for what purpose. You can:

  • Go from home to work (and back)
  • Drive to alcohol or drug education and treatment programs
  • Attend regularly scheduled treatment for a “serious medical condition”
  • Go to and from probation, community service or school

For many people, this is better than no license, but it’s not ideal.

That’s why it can be beneficial to address a potential license suspension head-on, taking every sensible step to prevent it from happening in the first place.

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