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What happens if I fail an IID breath test?

As of January 1, 2019, drivers arrested for DUI in California who are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) will require an ignition interlock device (IID). Drivers have to install an IID in any car they own or operate, or have access to and have to breathe a clean, alcohol-free breath into the device in order to drive. The IID requirement also applies to people who were arrested before January 1, 2019, in Alameda County.

Failing an IID test or failing to comply with the IID license requirements can result in losing your driving privileges. If you have any further questions about IID requirements after a DUI arrest or conviction in California, contact the experienced East Bay DUI lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.

What happens if my ignition interlock device registered alcohol on my breath?

The ignition interlock device requires a breath test to start the vehicle. If the device registers alcohol in the driver's breath at or above the set baseline, the device will register the failed test and the car will not start. The device may lockout for a period of time and allow for a later retest.

The device also requires regular retests once the car is operating. These are “rolling” tests and still require the driver to provide a clean breath test. If the IID registers alcohol on the driver's breath while the vehicle is operating, it will register the failed test

When the vehicle is taken in for the regular service appointment (generally every 60 days), the IID servicer will recalibrate the device. The installer will also look for failed breath tests and any evidence of attempting to tamper with the device. The installer will report this information to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV may suspend the individual's driving privileges for IID violations.

Can I erase my failed IID breath test?

Failed breath tests and any detected tampering will be recorded on the IID. Drivers cannot erase the breath tests without violating IID restrictions. Any attempts to remove, bypass, or tamper with the IID will be reported to the DMV.

Some people attempt to bypass the IID, using a variety of methods. Many of these methods do not work and will be recorded as attempting to bypass the IID. There are many so-called tricks found online that claim to be able to trick the IID but do not work. Before attempting to bypass the IID, think about what a reported violation will mean to your driving privileges.

Some drivers get another person to breathe into the device to start and continue operating the vehicle. This may bypass the breath test requirements but it is also against the law. Under California Vehicle Code 23247, it is unlawful for any person whose driving privileges are restricted to request another person to blow into the IID. It is also unlawful for another person to blow into the IID for the purpose of allowing the restricted driver to operate the vehicle.

What else can cause a failed IID breath test other than alcohol?

Many drivers are surprised to see alcohol detected on their breath even if they haven't been drinkingChemical breath testing devices, including IIDs, can register alcohol in the sample for any source of mouth alcohol, even if the individual wasn't consuming beer, wine, or liquor. Some ways alcohol tests may be triggered include:

  • Mouthwash
  • Medicines
  • Foods containing yeast
  • Medical issues

What happens if the IID installer reports I attempted to remove, bypass, or tamper with the IID.

Attempts to remove, bypass, or tamper with the IID will be reported to the DMV. The DMV may immediately terminate the individual's driving privileges. Removal, bypass, or tampering with the IID can also be punished by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

Bypassing the IID includes:

Ignition Interlock Device Answers by East Bay DUI Attorney

East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 30 years of DUI experience and understands how frustrating it can be dealing with an ignition interlock device. An IID can give you the wrong results or register a failure even if you're not drunk. If you have any questions about your DUI or IID restriction, contact East Bay DUI defense lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.

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