Across America, many states have begun a new penalty for a conviction of Driving Under the Influence. Under some circumstances, convicted individuals are required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicles. This device allows a driver to use their vehicle while preventing them from repeating the offense of drunk driving.
This penalty may come after a mandatory license suspension, or it can take the place of a suspension. While an IID gives someone the opportunity to continue using their vehicle, the option does come with costs and responsibilities. An experienced DUI attorney in Los Angeles can explain when California requires that these devices be installed.
What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?
California is one of several states to now require drivers with only one DUI conviction to install an IID in their vehicle. These electronic devices are designed to be burdensome in order to deter drinking and driving. It periodically prompts the driver to test themselves, and if the driver does not comply, the court is notified.
About the size of a cell phone, these electronic devices serve as private breathalyzers, similar to the tool used by a police officer in a field sobriety test. The IID is attached to a vehicle’s ignition and reads a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) after the potential driver blows into it. If the device detects the driver has been drinking, it prevents the car from starting and being driven.
When Do Courts Mandate an IID?
All decisions regarding DUI sentencing come from California judges. Ultimately, these judges dole out the required installation of an IID. The usual recipients of a mandated IID sentence are first-time offenders with a BAC of .15% or higher. This can also be the standard consequence for drivers who refuse a breathalyzer or chemical blood tests during their arrest.
A sentence with an IID requirement usually lasts from six months to a year. If a driver is convicted of DUI and caught driving while their license is suspended, they may be subject to a number of additional and more severe penalties. Among these punishments, the court may order an IID to be installed on their vehicle after the suspension is lifted.
In cases of repeat offenders, the installation of IIDs is usually part of their DUI sentencing, and the required devices will follow the typical suspension. These might include:
- A second conviction requires the use of an IID for up to two years.
- A third conviction may prolong the installation to three years.
- Four or more convictions can require use for a four-year period.
Other Punishments for DUI
An IID restriction comes after the completion of the standard punishments for DUI:
- License suspensions
- Jail time
If a convicted driver is granted a restricted license, an IID can be installed for longer periods to compensate for any time the driver is permitted behind the wheel.
In California, DUI convictions remain on someone’s record for ten years. Any new arrest and conviction during this period are counted as a second offense, even if it occurs at the end of the ninth year.
How Does an IID Work?
Operating an IID is simple:
- Blow into the device before you start the vehicle.
- If an IID detects the presence of alcohol on the driver’s breath, the car will not start.
- The system will pause for a few minutes before the driver is prompted to try again.
An IID is only accessible by the driver, and it is illegal to allow someone other than the driver to blow into the device. Additional breath tests are required every time they drive, and trying to fool the device is punishable by law.
An IID is activated any time a driver attempts to operate a vehicle. It does not matter if the driver is going to work or taking a trip. The vehicle where the IID is installed will prompt whoever the driver is to test their breath for evidence of alcohol before the automobile starts.
The court may mandate an IID be installed in a convicted driver’s vehicle, but the driver has to pay certified technicians to install the device. Installation can take between one hour and all day, depending on where you are, and could cost more than $100, and the required driver typically has to pay a monthly fee for the service. You must also pay to have the device calibrated regularly to stay in compliance.
After an IID is installed, all the stored information related to the convicted driver and their vehicle will be reported to the court where the sentencing occurred.
A Los Angeles DUI Lawyer Can Help You Manage Your Penalties
The stakes have risen for first-time DUI offenders in California. Although it is not ideal, there are cases when an IID is a better alternative than a lengthy license suspension.
Installing an IID in a vehicle can be expensive. The embarrassment of having to use one to drive can create a stigma and impact your reputation.
Not to mention, it can also be bothersome—a daily inconvenience just to get from one place to another. Even though it is unlikely, it is possible to receive a false positive reading from an IID. A qualified DUI lawyer in Los Angeles can help explain these options and perhaps escape the financial burden of heavy penalties.
Speak with a Los Angeles DUI Attorney Today
If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI and face a DUI conviction on your record, it is crucial to retain an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney for advice. A skilled lawyer can counsel you through this arduous process.
A strong defense is needed to avoid life-altering consequences like fines, license suspensions, jail time, or an IID. Competent legal representation can protect your rights while finding the best outcome for your case. In some circumstances, this may be a plea bargain or other legal avenues to avoid the harsh penalties of a DUI conviction.
Contact us to schedule a consultation today.