Recently on our DUI forum a user asked, “I was arrested for DUI last week in California. I have heard that more drivers are having to install ignition interlock devices on their cars to have the right to drive after a DUI conviction. Will I have to do this in California?”
Overview of Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
An ignition interlock device (IID) is a breathalyzer for a driver’s car which requires the driver to blow air into the device before the car will start. Prior to starting, however, the device will measure the breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of the driver to determine if it is less than the pre-programmed BAC allowed for driving. Additionally, a IID will require the driver to blow periodically as the car is operating- a feature that deters the driver from using someone else’s breath sample to start the car.
What states currently require ignition interlock device requirements?
Legislatures, lobbying groups, and concerned citizens are constantly reviewing new and better ways to limit the number of intoxicated drivers. One of those strategies has been to increase the usage of ignition interlock devices or making existing IID laws stricter.
In fact, the goal of MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving) is to have all states require convicted drunk drivers to install ignition interlock devices in their car for a minimum of six months for first-time offenders and at least one year for all repeat offenders.
MADD has been very successful in their efforts. In fact, more than 20 states have some type of ignition interlock device laws which require IID devices after a DUI conviction or which offer some type of incentive for using the device. Legislation is pending in other states.
What are the legal requirements for ignition interlock device in California?
Now, you asked about California’s ignition interlock device laws. The debate is California remains strong about the benefits of ignition interlock devices. In fact, the state started a pilot program in 2010 in the Counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare. This program was recently extended to July 1, 2017.
Under this program, drivers who want a restricted license after a suspension are required to install an ignition interlock device for a specified time period. To qualify for a restricted driver’s license specified requirements must be met. Not all drivers will qualify for a restricted license with the installation of the IID. In fact, existing law does not permit a person who has been convicted of a first offense of driving a motor vehicle under the influence, with injury, to receive a restricted driver’s license.
Other requirements to acquire a restricted license after a DUI conviction include completing a DUI alcohol education program, paying a reinstatement fee and administrative fee, and showing proof that they have California auto insurance.
If you have been arrested and convicted of a first-time DUI in the State of California, if you live in the counties mentioned above, you may qualify to install an ignition interlock device as a requirement for getting a suspended license.
Although drivers don’t generally like the cost and hassle of the devices, MADD argues that the ignition interlock device has helped reduce the number of repeat DUI offenders by 67 percent. MADD also claims that the devices have stopped 1.77 million drunk driving attempts across the nation over the last several years.
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