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Bay Area Criminal Defense Blog

Will Ignition Interlock Devices for DUIs Go Statewide?

Posted by Lynn Gorelick | Apr 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

In California, a judge can order drivers convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) to install an ignition interlock device (IID) intheir vehicle. The purpose of an IID is to prevent an impaired driver from getting on the road. Under a California pilot program, four counties require an IID for any DUI violation, even for a first-time DUI. Other counties do not have an automatic IID requirement, but that may change as state lawmakers look at the success of the pilot program to determine whether they should make IIDs a statewide requirement.

The IID is installed on the car's steering column, and acts like a breathalyzer to start up the car. It will only start after the driver breathes into the device without registering the limit for their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Even after starting, in order to continue driving the IID will require “rolling” samples every 5 to 15 minutes, and then about every 45 minutes.  After the IID prompts these additional samples, the driver has six minutes to blow a clean breath into the device, or the failed breath test will be recorded. The six minute time frame is intended to allow the driver enough time to blow into the device, or if necessary, pull the car over to register a breath.

Alameda County is part of the pilot program requiring IIDs after any DUI. Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare are the other counties. Under the pilot program, set to expire at the end of the year, if you are convicted of a DUI by the criminal court in any of these counties, an IID will have to be installed in each vehicle you own. For a first offense, the IID is required for five months. In Contra Costa and other counties, the IID may not be automatic, but the court may require it's installation and use.

State Democratic Senator Jerry Hill, of San Mateo, has introduced a bill to require the IID program to be extended statewide. Senate Bill 61 would prevent people convicted of a DUI from having their licenses reinstated until after a period with an IID in their car. Two dozen other states already have statewide IID programs, aimed and reducing repeat DUIs. However, the bill is currently waiting for a comprehensive DMV report on the program, before it will be put up for a vote.

Opponents of the plan argue that the pilot program was not as effective as Hill has indicated, and instead suggest that the state focus on repeat offenders instead of for first-time DUIs. But Berkeley's Sen. Loni Hancock is also in support of the bill. Whether due to IIDs, increased enforcement, or other factors, the number of DUI arrests in Alameda County has decreased 30 percent last year, from 289 to 415.

At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people in the East Bay charged with driving under the influence. For over 30 years, she has personally handled hundreds of cases involving people arrested for DUIs, successfully defending them both in Court and in Administrative Per Se hearings with the Department of Motor Vehicles, and avoiding an IID. If you have been arrested for a DUI here in the East Bay, there is still time to keep the conviction off your record, and keep your driving privileges. You do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested. Contact a local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands local DUI laws, and will make sure you get the justice you deserve.

About the Author

Lynn Gorelick

Lynn Gorelick has been an attorney for 30 years. She is the Attorney Lynn Gorelick is the President of the California DUI Lawyers Association and a Faculty and Sustaining member of the National College of DUI Defense.

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