One of the most common DUI penalties in California is the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle. Starting in 2019, it’s required for most drivers convicted of DUI. The IID device is a breathalyzer instrument that only lets you start your car if there is no trace of alcohol on your breath. If you are ordered to install one of these devices on your vehicle, you’ll need to follow certain steps to make it happen.
How to Know If You Need to Install a Breathalyzer
California law states repeat DUI offenders are required to install IIDs on their vehicles. But in 2010, the state enacted a pilot program in which a few counties can require even first-time DUI offenders get an IID installed. Starting in 2019, the program was extended state-wide.
If you are convicted of a first-offense DUI and no one was injured, you can choose to either have an IID installed for six months or a license restriction (that only allows you to drive to/from work and an alcohol program) for one year. Most DUI lawyers will advise choosing the IID so you can avoid losing all driving privileges.
If there were injuries with a first-offense DUI, you’ll have to get the IID installed for six months. Repeat DUI offenders (within a 10-year period) will face IID installation of one year or more:
- 1 year for second offense DUI
- 2 years for a third offense DUI
- 3 years for a fourth or subsequent DUI
Depending on the conditions of your offense and whether or not this is your first one, the judge may order you to get one of these car breathalyzers installed in your vehicle(s).
How to Get an Ignition Interlock Device Installed
To set up an installation, you’ll need to contact an authorized installer. You’ll be asked for your vehicle and location information as well as details of your offense and billing information. Then, an appointment will be set up for your installation. If you drive or own more than one vehicle, an IID will need to be installed on each.
Some IID installers will charge you an upfront fee for installation. Either way, there is a monthly fee to keep the device installed, and you must bring the IID in for regular maintenance and calibration at least every 60 days. Once the provider has installed your device, they will notify the DMV or courts (whichever applies to your situation).
If you fail to get an IID installed after being ordered to do so, you can be found guilty of violating probation and may face stricter penalties or jail time. Your license with also stay suspended until the device is installed. You’ll want to get the device installed as soon as possible to avoid making your situation harder to deal with.
Benefits of a Car Breathalyzer
No one is excited about the prospect of having an IID breathalyzer installed, but if you are convicted of DUI, there are ways it can benefit your situation.
Avoiding the License Suspension
The California IID pilot program, as mentioned above, makes it possible for DUI offenders to get an IID installed right after their arrest. That means that with the device installed, you may be able to get unlimited driving privileges—even when your license is suspended—and apply for a restricted license before your conviction.
Before this program, most DUI offenders would need to serve a DMV driver’s license suspension without other options (unless they requested a DMV hearing within 10 days). A first-time offender would have to wait 30 days of a mandatory license suspension before they could apply for a restricted license. With an IID, you may be able to immediately install the device and maintain driving privileges to get you to/from important places like work.
More Driving Privileges
With unlimited driving privileges, you can drive anywhere as long as the IID is installed and being used as ordered. This means getting you back on the road as soon as possible and won’t have to worry about getting daily rides to work, school, or other life obligations.
That being said, the best scenario is no DUI conviction or need for a car breathalyzer at all. Don’t assume a DUI is your guaranteed fate. There’s always more to the story. A DUI lawyer can help you fight your charges and possibly get a better outcome with fewer penalties.
Talk to a DUI Lawyer for Free Today
You might be able to fight your DUI conviction and avoid penalties like an IID altogether. Don’t wait to find out your options. Our DUI lawyers understand California DUI law, and we know how to find weak spots in the prosecution’s case. Call us today for a FREE consultation to discuss your DUI situation and how we can help. For your free consultation, call (310) 862-0199, or fill out the form on this page to get started.