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What happens if I do not install an ignition interlock device in my car?

Beginning January 1, 2019, California's ignition interlock device (IID) program will require drivers to install a breath testing device in order to keep their driving privileges. Violating the IID program requirements or failure to install the device can result in losing driving privileges for 6-months or more. Failure to comply with the IID requirements can result in the mandatory IID term being reset to start over.

Ignition Interlock Device Requirements After a DUI Conviction

Before the new IID law, driver's convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in California faced a mandatory license suspension period. Drivers with a first-time DUI had their license suspended for 6 months. A 2nd DUI within 10 years results in a 2-year license suspension. A 3rd DUI within 10 years results in a 3-year license suspension.

Under California's new IID law, drivers with a 1st DUI will not have a suspended license if they install an IID in each vehicle. Drivers with an IID restriction will not be limited to driving to work or school. After the end of the IID period, drivers can have their full driving privileges reinstated.

The IID restrictions are generally based on the specific offense and prior DUI record, as follows:

  • 1st offense DUI: IID for mandatory term of 5 months
  • 2nd offense DUI: IID for mandatory term of 12 months
  • 3rd offense DUI: IID for mandatory term of 24 months
  • 4th offense DUI: IID for mandatory term of 36 months

Driving Without an Ignition Interlock Device

Some drivers may resist getting an IID after a drunk driving arrest or conviction. Driver's may not want to pay for the cost to install and maintain the device (up to about $100 to install). Others may not want to have to have their driving privileges restricted by a breath testing device.

An IID restriction generally requires getting the device installed in each vehicle. If a driver does not have the IID installed, then the driver generally will not get his or her driving privileges restored. After a DUI conviction, driving without an IID installed could result in penalties for driving on a suspended license, including additional driving restrictions and fines.

Penalties for Bypassing the IID or Tampering with an IID

There are a number of “hints” or videos online that supposedly provide ways to bypass IID restrictions. Many of these tricks don't work and could result in penalties for attempting to tamper with the device.

Under California's IID law, IID's require regular maintenance and service. “The installer shall notify the department if the device is removed or indicates that the person has attempted to remove, bypass, or tamper with the device, or if the person fails three or more times to comply with any requirement for the maintenance or calibration of the ignition interlock device.”

Any attempt to remove, tamper with, bypass, or failure to comply with IID maintenance or calibration will result in the DMV immediately suspending or revoking driving privileges. Driving after a suspension or revocation is a misdemeanor in California, and can lead to fines and possible jail time.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An IID is a device installed on the vehicle steering column. The device acts like a breathalyzer, requiring a “clean” (alcohol-free) test sample to start and continue operating the vehicle. If the driver does not blow a clean sample into the IID, the car will not start and the failure will be recorded. The IID will also require “rolling” samples every 5 to 15 minutes, and then about every 45 minutes while the vehicle is driving or idling. If a breath sample fails during operation, the device will record the failed test.

East Bay Driving Under the Influence Attorney

East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 30 years of DUI experience representing clients facing criminal drunk driving charges and understands how an IID can limit your driving privileges. She understands how to approach the individual facts of each case for the greatest chance of success, keeping her clients out of jail and driving on the road Representing drivers in Contra Costa and Alameda County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local DUI laws, and the local officers and prosecutors involved. Contact East Bay DUI lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.

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