Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Contact Us for a Free Consultation 510.785.1444

Can You Drive a Vehicle Without an Ignition Interlock?

If you get a drunk driving conviction in California, chances are you are familiar with the ignition interlock device requirement. As a way to avoid a suspended license, you can have an IID installed which requires you to blow a clean breath sample to start your care. In some situations, you may be faced with having to drive another vehicle without an IID. 

What happens if you drive a vehicle without an IID while you're on a restricted license? The consequences of a restricted license violation can depend on your individual situation. If you have questions about violating IID requirements after a DUI, talk to an experienced East Bay DUI defense lawyer for legal advice. 

Ignition Interlock Device Restrictions After a DUI

The California ignition interlock device (IID) restrictions started with a pilot program in four counties, including Alameda County. Now, the program is state-wide, requiring all drivers convicted of a DUI to install an IID to be able to operate their vehicles. 

An IID acts like a breathalyzer connected to the vehicle's ignition. You have to blow a clean, alcohol-free breath to be able to start the car. The IID requires regular rolling samples, every five to 15 minutes to continue operating the vehicle. If the driver blows a breath that tests positive for alcohol, the failed sample will be recorded and reported to the DMV. 

To apply for an IID-restricted license, drivers have to complete the following: 

If you don't want to install an IID, you may qualify for a non-IID restricted license. A restricted license only allows you to drive to and from employment, school, and your DUI school meetings. This restricted license is also for a full year instead of six months. This is one reason most people apply for the IID license. With the IID restriction, the suspension is only for 6 months and you aren't limited on where and when you can drive. 

What Are Penalties for Driving Without an IID?

After a drunk driving conviction, you are on probation. Probation usually lasts from one to three years. As part of probation, you have to follow a number of court restrictions. Probationary restrictions include not violating the terms of your IID-restricted license. If you are caught driving a non-IID vehicle while under an IID restriction, it is considered a probation violation

The penalties for a probation violation can depend on the situation. Penalties range from a warning to imprisonment. If you are on an IID-restricted license, the judge can extend your license restriction period or revoke your license completely. 

If you were driving someone else's car, the vehicle may be impounded. You can face an arrest and be sentenced to jail time. Generally, it will cost you money and take longer to get out from under DUI probation.  

Can You Get an Exemption From an IID Requirement?

Some drivers may be able to get an exemption from the IID restrictions for a DUI conviction. Under California laws, any driver who is convicted of drunk driving is subject to mandatory IID installation for a period of six months to four years. However, you may be able to get an exemption, under the following situations: 

  • You do not own a vehicle

  • You do not have access to a vehicle at your place of residence

  • You no longer have access to the vehicle used when arrested for the DUI

Generally, you have to meet all these requirements to qualify. It may not be enough if you say you don't own a car. If you live with your parents and have access to their vehicles, you may still have to have an IID installed in your parents' vehicles. 

If you want to apply for an exemption, complete form DL 4062 and submit it to the DMV within 30 days of the date of your driver's license suspension or revocation. 

Can I Drive My Work Vehicle Without an IID?

Your job may require you to operate a vehicle as part of your employment. The good news is that there is an employer exemption for the IID program. In California, you can drive your employer's vehicle during the scope of your employment with an IID-restricted license. 

To qualify for the employer's exemption, you need to complete a Notice to Employers Ignition Interlock Restriction (Form DL 923) and give it to your employer. You have to keep a copy in your possession or in the employer's vehicle when you are driving. 

This form gives your employer notice of your driving restrictions. Your employer is not required to allow you to drive the work vehicle if they choose not to. Your employer could fire you after a drunk driving conviction, especially when driving is part of the job requirements.

Even with an employer exemption, you don't have unlimited driving privileges. Generally, the exemption doesn't give you permission to drive your employer's vehicle to and from work or to run errands on the side. The exemption is only for work-related driving. 

What if I Can't Blow Into the IID?

You may be able to qualify for an exemption if you have a medical condition that limits your ability to submit an IID breath sample. If you have a medical condition that limits your breathing strength and you cannot provide a sample to activate the IID, you may qualify for a medical exemption. Talk to your California DUI defense attorney for information about IID exemptions. 

How to Handle a First-Time DUI in Oakland

East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 40 years of drunk driving defense experience and understands how to approach each case for the greatest chance for success. Representing drivers and their families in Oakland, Alameda County, and Contra Costa County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with DUI defense strategies for drivers accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 

Serving The Bay Area

We strive to make the highest quality legal representation accessible and affordable.