DWI and the Deep Lung Device–Texas Style by Bo Kalabus

By Bo Kalabus
Office: 972-562-7549
Collin County 24 Hour Jail Release 214-402-4364

A common question I hear from folks facing DWI charges is what is a deep lung device (DLD) and how do I keep it off my vehicle? It’s a good question and one that certainly should be addressed.

To start with, a DLD is a portable machine that is installed on the vehicle to prevent the car from starting if it detects alcohol in the driver’s system. In order to start a vehicle with a DLD, the driver must blow into the DLD and the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) must be below .030. As long as the driver’s BAC is below .030 the car will start. The DLD also requires the driver to blow into the machine every 20 minutes while operating the vehicle, or the car will shut down. The concept is simple–keeping drunk drivers from being able to start their cars. Sounds like a pain in the rear huh? Well, it is. And you have to use it, or the courts and probation folks will think you are not driving your car. That’s right, failure to start the car with the device on it 100-125 times a month may signal that you are driving another vehicle not equipped with a DLD.

If a person accused of DWI is released from jail via a writ bond-which is a mechanism in Dallas and Collin Counties that allows a person’s bond to be set if they have not seen a magistrate judge-that person will have a hearing before a Collin County Court At Law judge within 10 days to determine whether a DLD will be installed as a condition of bond. At the hearing the judge will consider:

• the person’s driving record and see if there have been any prior alcohol related offenses;
• whether there has been an accident;
• is the person’s BAC above a .15; and
• whether this is a person’s second DWI

If the person’s BAC is above a .15, or it is their second DWI, Texas law requires that the judge require the installation of a DLD. If there was an accident, the judge certainly has discretion to order the installation of the DLD if he/she believes it is in the best interest of the public.

If a DLD has not been installed as a condition of a person’s bond, it may be added later as a condition of the DWI probation. Or in some cases, a DLD is required as a condition for the person’s occupational driver’s license.

The expense of a DLD adds up as well. The device costs about $100 to install and about $70 a month after that. These costs are approximates as they change over time. Also, the person is required to return to the installer at least once a month to have the device calibrated. Failure to have the device calibrated could result in forfeiture of the person’s bond, which means a return trip to jail. There are a variety of providers for the DLD device in Texas, and a person should do their homework to determine which provider is the most user friendly.


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