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How Can I Bypass an Ignition Interlock Device?

Attempting to bypass or tamper with an ignition interlock device (IID) is not only a bad idea--it is also against the law. There are a number of websites, devices for sale online, or YouTube videos that say they can help you cheat the breath tests. These generally do not work and can get you in more trouble and loss of your driving privileges.

Trying to bypass an IID for drivers convicted of a DUI in California can result in an extended license suspension, extended IID restrictions, and even criminal prosecution for anyone trying to cheat the IID AND anyone who helps someone bypass the IID. If you have any questions about IIDs and defending criminal charges for tampering with an IID in the East Bay, contact the experienced California DUI lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.

Requirements of an IID After a DUI in California

After a DUI in California, a driver's license will be suspended. However, under California's IID laws, individuals with a DUI will be able to drive after getting the device installed in their vehicle. Prior to this new law, drivers had to wait out the mandatory 30-day suspension period before they could get a restricted license. Now, drivers can get an IID restriction as soon as the device is installed.

The IID requires individuals to blow a clean breath into the device before the car can start. After starting the vehicle, the IID will require regular “rolling” samples about every 5 to 15 minutes, and then about every 45 minutes. However, anytime the driver blows an alcohol-tainted breath sample, the device will record the failed test.

Tricking the Machine and Drinking

There may be a number of reasons why drivers may want to try and bypass the IID so they can drive. This can include:  

  • Emergency comes up after having a drink or two,
  • Did not intend to drink but ended up drinking and need to get home, or
  • Curiosity about challenging the electronic monitor.

It may seem like it should be easy to “trick” the device but there are a number of anti-tampering measures that test for regular attempts to bypass the device. Ways people have attempted to bypass the IID include: 

  • Using a balloon to blow alcohol-free breath into the device,
  • Having a friend blow a clean breath into the device,
  • Disconnecting the wires on the device,
  • Sucking on a penny,
  • Eating mints or chewing gum, or
  • Blowing through a filter.

Some of these tests are just made up and do not work (like the penny trick). Others may have been able to bypass the device in the past but some IIDs have features to catch these tricks, including:

  • Requiring inhalation and exhalation,
  • Requiring humming while blowing into the device,
  • Lockouts when wires are disconnected or tampered with, or
  • Cameras to check for another user or balloon.

Before wasting money of products that promise to bypass the machines but could actually get you in trouble, consider the following alternatives:

  • Take a Taxi, Lyft, Uber, or ridesharing option,
  • Use public transportation,
  • Have a friend drive, or
  • Make sure if you do drive, don't drink.


All these options can be less costly than another DUI or dealing with the penalties associated with getting caught trying to bypass the IID.

Penalties for Attempting to Bypass an IID

Under California Motor Vehicle Code (MVC) 23247, it is unlawful to remove, bypass, or tamper with an ignition interlock device. It is also unlawful to:

  1. Request or solicit any other person to blow into an IID to start a motor vehicle for the purpose of providing the person with an operable motor vehicle; or
  2. Blow into an IID or start a vehicle for the purpose of providing the person with an operable motor vehicle.

Violation of this law is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for up to six months or by a fine of up to $5,000. Tampering with an IID can also result in having driving privileges suspended or revoked.

Caught Tampering with an IID?

If you are accused of tampering with an IID or having someone else take the breath test for you in order to drive, your California DUI lawyer may be able to challenge the charges to keep your driving privileges.

Talk to your California DUI lawyer about your case. When dealing with a DUI arrest, drug DUI, or IID issues anywhere in the East Bay, contact California DUI lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.

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