San Diego DUI criminal defense lawyers at www.SanDiegoDUI.com are often asked if one can tamper with an ignition interlock device.

Perhaps there testing protocols for ignition interlock devices that include tampering using garden hoses, balloons and simulators filled with water. Several devices may not pass because of these tampering experiments.

San Diego DUI criminal defense attorneys at www.SanDiegoDrunkDrivingAttorney.net and www.SanDiegoDUIlawyer.com report that a six-time drunken driver from Pewaukee, Wisconsin figured out a way to defeat the ignition interlock device on his car.

But instead of credit for creativity, he was slapped with criminal charges.

Paul R. Rupple, 45, served prison time on a 2004 fifth-offense
drunken driving case. When he was released, the ignition interlock
was supposed to prevent him from drinking and driving again by
requiring him to blow into a tube. Any alcohol on his breath, and the
car wouldn’t start.

But Rupple figured out there was another way to blow air through the
device and bypass the protection it was meant to provide.

According to Village of Pewaukee Police Chief Edward Bauman,
authorities got a call late last week that an intoxicated man was
stumbling toward his vehicle.

When an officer found Rupple in the front seat of his purple minivan,
there was a balloon attached to the interlock and an air compressor
plugged into the cigarette lighter.

“If you put them on the interlock device, sure enough, the car would
start,” Bauman said.

Rupple is charged with sixth-offense drunken driving, a felony, and
tampering with an ignition interlock device, a misdemeanor. When the
officer approached, the van’s engine was running and Rupple had a
balloon in his hand, according to the criminal complaint. He admitted
drinking vodka but refused a breath test.

Dennis Hughes, chief of safety programs for the Wisconsin State
Patrol, said he has heard “bar talk” about balloons and other ways to
defeat ignition interlocks — such as drinkers blowing through a
garden hose to dilute the alcohol in their breath — but has never
seen hard evidence that the tricks work.

Another ploy is to have a sober passenger blow into the device. But
that works only if the person stays in the car, because the machines
require “rolling re-tests,” in which the driver must pull over and
blow into the tube again at random intervals, Hughes said.

“It’s a little more high-tech than what the average person might
think,” he said. “It’s not easy to circumvent.”

Greg Miller, Wisconsin program manager for National Interlock
Service, which distributes the devices, said drivers must hum while
they blow into the tube. Both the vibration and the air are required
to start the car. Using a balloon or an air compressor should not
work, he said.

“I have never heard of anyone successfully doing it before,” he said.

Ignition interlocks must be checked every 60 days, Miller said. He
plans to have the one from Rupple’s car analyzed to try to figure out
what happened.

A 1993 Wisconsin law requires ignition interlocks or vehicle
immobilization for repeat drunken drivers who want their licenses
back starting with the third offense — the second offense if it is
within five years of the first. Judges have the option of ordering
the device on any second offense, regardless of the time span. In
2007, judges ordered the devices about 8,460 times, according to the
Department of Transportation.

Some people don’t follow through with installing ignition interlocks,
either because they don’t plan to drive or because they can’t afford
them, Hughes said. Installation and monthly leasing cost about $70
each.

Mothers Against Drunken Driving espouses making ignition interlocks
mandatory for first-time drunken driving offenders. Six states have
such laws. State Rep. Tony Staskunas (D-West Allis), plans to
introduce a bill in January that would require them for first-time
offenders with a blood-alcohol content of 0.16 or more.

Rupple appeared briefly Tuesday in Waukesha County Circuit Court,
where his preliminary hearing was set for Oct. 13. He remained in
custody in lieu of $1,500 bond.

Clearly, San Diego DUI criminal defense lawyers at www.SanDiegoDUI.com can now point out that one can tamper with an ignition interlock device.

San Diego DUI criminal defense attorneys at www.SanDiegoDrunkDrivingAttorney.net and www.SanDiegoDUIlawyer.com suggest Advantage Interlock, run by Chick Richardson at www.advantageinterlock.com. He is professional and runs a tamper-proof ignition interlock company well-respected throughout the country.

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