Whenever a celebrity of any kind is arrested, it makes all of the front pages of newspapers still in print and, of course, all the network news channels, as well as being highlighted on social sites across the Web. Tiger Woods, who was once the darling of the golf circuit, has now fallen even further from grace having been arrested for a DUI in Jupiter, Florida in late May. Does this mean that Tiger Woods now needs a low-cost ignition interlock before being allowed to drive a motor vehicle? Before we can answer that, it’s important to look at a few facts.
Tiger Woods Denies Allegations of Drunk Driving
One of the things about mandatory interlock systems is that the driver must first have been convicted of driving while under the influence. As of this time, Woods has not been convicted and has told the courts and the media that he had not had a drink. According to Florida law, where Woods was found asleep and virtually incoherent behind the wheel in his car, a person can be guilty of drunk driving with a blood level of point zero one five, .015. Woods took the law enforcement breathalyzer and blew clean at 0.00%.
Questions on the Reliability of the Law Enforcement’s Breathalyzer
At this point in time, it appears as if Tiger Woods may have the alcohol charges dismissed if the officer’s breathalyzer was working as it should have been, but impairment can still be called due to medications he had taken. Since there are questions about the reliability of that breath analysis on the scene, there is no way to definitively state that Woods will need the mandatory Interlock before getting behind the wheel. If the arresting officer’s machine wasn’t functioning, the court will need to await the blood analysis that was sent to a lab before deciding whether or not Woods can be accountable for being under the influence.
Why Would Woods Need an Interlock Device If Convicted?
There is actually a total of 25 states that have mandated the use of ignition interlock systems for those who have a DUI conviction. You may be asking, “What is ignition interlock?” If you’ve never been convicted of a DUI in one of those 25 states, this is a very good question. It is actually a device that doesn’t allow the driver to start or drive the car if he/she breathes over the legal limit for that state. It’s the use of technology that prevents the ignition from being engaged. If the driver starts the car before breathing into the can, it will stop moments later until an acceptable reading can be taken.
Several other states now have legislation before their state assemblies in an effort to require convicted DUI drivers to use an ignition interlock system. While residents of those states await what their lawmakers will do, the question for Tiger Woods remains. Did the officer’s breath analysis tool misread his levels on that night or will he eventually need an ignition interlock? His lab results should be back soon so until then, it’s anyone’s guess. The best advice is to wait before passing judgment. If he needs a low-cost ignition interlock, it is certain the courts will rule accordingly. He may be a celebrity but he must follow the law in his state.