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California Ignition Interlock Device Requirements

In California, under certain circumstances when someone is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), they are required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID). An IID is a small device, not much larger than a cell phone that is wired to a vehicle’s ignition.

With an IID, the driver must provide an alcohol-free breath sample before the vehicle can start. If the IID detects any alcohol in the driver’s breath, the vehicle will not start. Once the person is driving, they are required to provide periodic breath samples to ensure they remain alcohol-free.

Do First-Time DUI Offenders Have to Install an IID?

Some first-time DUI offenders are ordered by the court to install an IID, but it is not automatic. If the defendant is convicted of DUI in one of the “pilot counties,” he or she will be ordered to install an IID, even for a first DUI offense.

As of July 1, 2010, the Department of Motor Vehicles began conducting an IID pilot program requiring that all first-time DUI offenders install an IID in the vehicles that they operate.

If you are convicted of DUI (including a first-DUI offense) in these pilot counties, you will be required to install an IID:

  1. Alameda
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Sacramento
  4. Tulare

In addition to the above, if you are convicted of DUI and you are caught driving on a suspended or revoked license for a DUI conviction, the DMV is required to impose an IID restriction.

24 states in the United States have already passed mandatory ignition-interlock laws aimed at reducing the number of DUI deaths each year. California may be one of those states in the near future if legislation is put into place.

Multiple DUI Offenders

If you are found guilty of a second or third DUI offense, the court may require that you install an IID. If someone is convicted of a second or third DUI in California, they can receive a shorter driver’s license suspension if they install an IID in their vehicle.

If a DUI suspect is convicted of a second or subsequent DUI in California, they may qualify for a restricted license (for alcohol-related DUIs only) if they do the following:

  • Install an IID in their vehicle.
  • Clear any other suspension or revocation from their driving record.
  • Submit the SR 22 form that is provided by their auto insurance carrier.
  • Provide the DMV with proof that they installed the IID (Verification of Installation Ignition Interlock form).
  • Pay the required fees, which includes a $15 IID restriction fee.

Do IIDs Really Work to Reduce DUI?

Senator Jerry Hill noted that in states that passed this mandatory ignition interlock device law, DUI deaths fell by as much as 43%. Ignition interlock devices are also recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the AAA.

In California, drunk drivers kill more than 1,000 people every year and injure more than 20,000. Mandatory ignition interlock devices could make it more difficult for DUI offenders to continue to break the law and drive impaired. Making these mandatory could also impose heavy financial penalties and challenges on DUI offenders.

To learn more about fighting DUI and California’s Ignition Interlock Device requirements, contact the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed for a free consultation with an Oakland DUI attorney!

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