California Increases the Use of Ignition Interlock Devices for DUI Offenders

As of January 1, 2019, California requires the use of Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) for most drivers who have more than one DUI conviction. Drivers can also choose to install an IID after a first conviction in order to reduce the time of their mandatory license restrictions. The amount of time for which a driver must keep these devices on their cars varies based on past convictions, and over time their use is costly. If you are arrested for a DUI in Orange County, seek the advice of an experienced Huntington Beach DUI lawyer to help you navigate this complex law and make the right decisions.

What Are Ignition Interlock Devices?

IIDs are breathalyzer units that attach to steering columns. Drivers blow into the devices in order to gauge their blood alcohol content (BAC). In California, if the device detects a BAC of .03 or higher it locks the ignition. In order to operate the vehicle continuously, the driver must blow again at random intervals while being pulled over with the motor running. Failure to do so results in a recording of non-compliance.  IIDs also register any attempts to disarm or modify the devices. Monitors who are approved by the state collect the data from the devices and report it to the proper authorities.

How Much Do IIDs Cost?

The cost of having an IID on your vehicle varies, but there are certain expenses that all drivers with the devices have to face. There is an initial installation fee for each vehicle as well as daily monitoring fees. California law dictates that beyond any other maintenance, drivers must have the devices calibrated every two months at their own expense. People who cannot afford the cost of an IID may apply for reduced fees.

California IID Law

Some first-time DUI offenders can be ordered to install an IID, for example if they have a very high BAC or if they caused an injury. As of 2019, judges are required to order an IID for almost all:

  • Second offenses for a period of one year
  • Third offenses for a period of two years
  • Fourth offenses for a period of three years

The combined costs of installing and maintaining IIDs on vehicles can run into the thousands of dollars over time. If you are arrested for a DUI, an experienced Huntington Beach DUI lawyer can help you fight charges you feel were unwarranted, or help you if you are charged with violating the terms of your IID use. Your attorney can also counsel you on getting a voluntary IID in order to shorten the time of a first DUI license suspension.


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