Over the past few years, drivers in four counties required an ignition interlock device (IID) when convicted of drunk driving. This includes Alameda, Tulare, Sacramento, and Los Angeles counties. Drivers in the rest of the state could avoid the intrusive and expensive alcohol testing devices in their cars. However, starting January 1, 2019, all California DUI convictions may end up with an IID in their vehicles
After the perceived success of the pilot program, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1046 into law. The bill will impose a one-year driving restriction on first-time DUI offenders unless they agree to IID installation in their vehicles. They will also have to pay to have the ignition devices installed in their vehicles, and continue to pay for monitoring for at least six months.
An IID is a device installed on the vehicle's steering column which acts like a breathalyzer to start up the car. It will only start the car if the driver breathes a clean, alcohol-free breath. After starting, the IID will require “rolling” breath samples every 5 to 15 minutes, and then about every 45 minutes. When the IID prompts additional breath samples, the driver has a few minutes to blow a clean breath into the device or the failed breath test will be recorded.
The law will also require IIDs for drivers with a DUI that caused injuries, as well as for multiple DUI offenders. However, many of these drivers were previously required to install an IID in their vehicle if the judge imposed such a restriction. Second-time DUIs will result in a 1-year IID requirement, three-time DUIs will require 2 years with an IID, and drivers with more than three DUIs will have a mandatory 3 year IID monitoring period.
Senator Jerry Hill, a democrat from San Mateo was behind the legislation, with support from such groups as Mother Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Proponents say it will save lives by preventing known violators from being able to operate their vehicles while under the influence. After a DUI, drivers already have to deal with a suspended license; however, that may not actually stop them from getting behind the wheel of a car.
“This most definitely is a step in the right direction,” said Mary Klotzbach, a national board member with MADD. “The man that killed my son was on a suspended license. Suspension does not prevent someone from driving. An ignition interlock device does.”
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 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.