As a Houston DWI Attorney I get the opportunity to work in front of a lot of judges. When it comes to DWI, every judge has their own opinions and their own rules regarding pre-trial conditions. One thing that attorneys see often in court is the placement of an interlock device in a defendant’s car before they are ever convicted. An interlock device is a basically a machine that is placed in your vehicle that you need to blow into to get the car to start. If you have any alcohol in your system the car will not start and a report of the violation is sent to the court.
Now personally, I hate the fact that interlocks are placed on defendants who have not been found guilty. I mean what ever happened to the presumption of innocence? But one thing that is especially odd is the way different courts go about implementing different types of interlocks as part of pre-trial conditions.
One thing that particularly annoys criminal defendants is when a judge orders a “camera interlock” to be placed in their vehicle. These camera interlocks take a photo when the machine is being used. Do they snap photos other times? Does the company have access to turn on the camera at their convenience? Who knows for sure, but it certainly makes individuals feel like their privacy has been violated. And to make it worse, that camera makes the rental fee more expensive as well.
Now I have never been a fan of the camera interlock before, but I can tell you one reason why they can be useful. Now again, I would rather no interlocks be placed on vehicles pre-conviction, but since they are placed in vehicles frequently I have run across one scenario where the camera is useful.
Most of the time interlock violations carry stiff consequences which can include having your bond revoked. I had a client recently who had multiple violations and was in serious trouble with the court. We were able to speak to the judge, get copies of the pictures, and prove that it wasn’t my client, but one of his family members who kept blowing into the machine with alcohol.
So for once having the camera paid off, but my opinion as a DWI Lawyer in Houston is that these interlocks shouldn’t be in defendant’s vehicles anyway. Hopefully I will see a day as a Houston DWI Attorney where innocent people do not have to place a machine in their car for no reason. And if they do, hopefully the county will one day realize the injustice of this and reimburse innocent people for the money they were forced to spend.