Ignition interlock devices and California DUI

In California, Judges have discretion to require people convicted of driving under the influence to install ignition interlock devices (IID) in their vehicles in many cases. Several counties require installation if convicted. These devices are intended to prevent driving with a measurable amount of alcohol in your system, and maybe ordered by a Judge or DMV along with other penalties for California DUI.

California DUI Laws

If a driver is arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, their driver's license will automatically be suspended in 30 days by DMV if they are 21 or older and drove with .08 or greater B.A. (blood alcohol level), or .01 B.A. or more if under age 21 or on probation for DUI. The driver must request a DMV hearing within 10 days of the arrest to challenge the suspension. This DMV action is independent of the Court action. If caught driving during the suspension there are severe penalties as well as installation of an IID.

Ignition Interlock Devices

IIDs work like Breathalyzers, and the driver must blow into the device before the car's engine will start. If the ignition interlock device detects alcohol, the car will not start. The individual also must perform tests with the interlock device periodically while driving, if alcohol is detected, an alarm, like flashing lights and horn, will go off until the ignition is turned off.

Many ignition interlock devices have anti-circumvention technology, and it is illegal to have another person perform the test instead of the driver. The devices must be calibrated and maintained at least every two months by a certified installer, who will also check the device for violations logged when the device detected alcohol or other issues arose, such as a bypassed test. There is a charge for installation and maintenance of this equipment.

If an individual is caught driving on an alcohol suspension, regardless whether there is alcohol in their system, they may be required to install an ignition interlock device for 1 to 3 years, unless some alternative disposition is reached on the suspended license charge.

Ignition interlock devices are often required when the driver's B.A. was extremely high, or if there were prior DUI convictions. In cases where an IID is being considered and the Court has discretion, an experienced criminal defense lawyers near me knows and can address the factors that the Judge considers in deciding whether or not to order installation of the ignition interlock device.