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New California IID Laws for 2019

Starting January 1, 2019, California expanded the ignition interlock device (IID) program statewide for most drunk driving offenses. In order to get your driving privileges reinstated after a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI), you'll have to get an IID installed on your vehicle.

The best chance to avoid having to drive with an IID on the vehicle is to avoid a DUI conviction. Before you plead guilty to California DUI charges, talk to an experienced DUI defense lawyer about your case.

Ignition Interlock Device Laws Starting January 2019

Governor Jerry Brown signed California Senate Bill 1046 into law, which went into effect January 1, 2019. The bill makes statewide what had previously been part of a pilot program in four counties: Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare.

Under the new law, an eligible individual whose license has been suspended for driving a motor vehicle with a certain blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) can be eligible for a restricted driver's license if the person installs an ignition interlock device.

For drivers who can get an IID installed, this new law means that most first-time DUI offenders will be able to get their driving privileges back quickly, without having to wait for a mandatory suspension period. By driving with an IID on the vehicle, drivers can get to work, school, or anywhere else as long as they have the equipment installed in the vehicle.

How does the new law change IID requirements after a DUI in California?

For drivers in Alameda County or the other test program counties, the new IID will not result in any significant changes. The pilot program has been in effect in Alameda and other pilot counties since 2010.

However, for drivers convicted of a DUI in Contra Costa, or other counties that were not part of the pilot program, an IID restriction was left up to the judge. However, there was a mandatory suspension period of 30-days before a driver could get a restricted license. The restricted license was only good for driving to certain places at certain times, such as to work, school, or DUI school. This new law will allow restricted driving as soon as the IID is installed.

Under the new law, the new IID licensing requirements will remain in place until January 1, 2026. Over the next few years, if the program is deemed effective, it may be further extended (like the pilot program has been over recent years).

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An IID acts like a breathalyzer and requires a clean breath to start up the car and continue driving the vehicle. The IID is installed on the vehicle steering column. If the driver does not blow an alcohol-free breath into the IID, the car will not start. The IID will also require “rolling” samples every 5 to 15 minutes, and then about every 45 minutes. If a breath sample fails during operation, it will record the failed test on the device.

More states are enacting IID restrictions for drivers. This is seen as a way to reduce and prevent further drunk driving arrests while still allowing people to go about their daily life, driving to and from work, and where else they need to go by car.

Which violations require an ignition interlock in California?

Most drunk driving convictions in California will now require an IID to get a license and be able to drive. This includes:

  • First offense DUI: 6-month IID
  • Second offense DUI: 1-year IID
  • Third offense DUI: 2-year IID
  • Fourth or subsequent offense DUI: 3-year IID

Drug DUIs will generally not be eligible for an IID restricted license.

How long will I have to have an IID if I get a DUI?

The amount of time the IID will have to be installed is based on the type of violation. For most first-time DUI offenses, the driver will have to keep the IID installed for 6 months. The IID requirement is extended for drivers with more than one DUI on their record.

Can I bypass the ignition interlock device?

An IID requires initial clean breaths and multiple “rolling” breaths. Any breaths that test positive for a minimal amount of alcohol will be logged. Any attempts to tamper with or bypass the IID will also be recorded. This may include trying to get another person to take the test, using a balloon, or other so-called “tricks.”

If the IID records any tampering, bypassing, or attempting to remove the device, the driver will have his or her suspension immediately reinstated.

How much will an ignition interlock device cost?

The driver is responsible for the cost of installation and maintenance. An IID can cost about $60 to $80 a month for maintenance, and the driver may have to bring in the device for regular maintenance, testing, and calibration of the device. Generally, individuals are required to have the device serviced every 60 days.

Some drivers who cannot afford the costs of an IID installation and maintenance may be able to get some financial assistance.

East Bay DUI Attorney

East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 37 years of DUI experience and understands the penalties involved with all DUI charges, including requiring an ignition interlock device. 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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