The 2019 California Law About Ignition Interlock Devices

This new California law about Ignition Interlock Devices (IID) went into effect on January 1, 2019. It is expected to be in effect until January 1, 2026. This law requires eligible drivers (first DUI and the repeat offenders whose violations resulted in injury) to install Ignition Interlock Devices on their car for a period of 6 to 48 months depending on the type of conviction. This law also allows the drivers who receive suspensions under the Administrative Per Se law to obtain an IID. Ignition Interlock Devices are costly but a good alternative to the restriction and suspension of your driver’s license.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

It is also known as a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (or a breathalyzer). It is a system that tests for alcohol in the driver’s breath in his or her own car. It has a small alcohol sensor that is attached to the dashboard of the car. Before starting the car, the driver must exhale into this device. The breath is analyzed for the alcohol concentration and, if the result is higher than the programmed alcohol concentration, the device prevents the car from starting. If the alcohol concentration in the breath is lower than the programmed concentration, the driver is allowed to start the car.

The device will also require rolling samples after every 5 to 15 minutes and then 45 minutes after that. The rolling multiple breaths are to make sure you don’t bypass the ignition interlock device by using another person to blow air, use air in a balloon and other tricks. The failed tests are all recorded on the device. Any attempts to tamper with it will be recorded. The data from each use is then automatically sent to the authorities that ordered the device to be installed. The driver has no access to recorded and shared data.

The driver is responsible for the installation and maintenance cost of this device. The IID requires regular testing, calibration, and maintenance. This device requires servicing every 60 days.

Why should you install the ignition interlock to any car you drive?

  1. It gives you the freedom to drive. It only prevents you from driving when you’re drunk unlike before where you could have your driving privileges revoked entirely. It also gives those with DUI convictions an opportunity to drive to school and work.
  2. It helps reduce the number of road accidents. Many accidents are caused by drunk drivers. Since the main goal of IID is to curb drunk driving, the number of accidents per year is expected to reduce at a higher rate, unlike the traditional breathalyzers that allowed you to drive when drunk until when you’re stopped by police for a field sobriety test. The traditional breathalyzers help reduce drunk driving but not as effectively as the IID will.
  3. The ignition interlock device has also made it easier for authorities to deal with drunk drivers. They will no longer be on roads while drunk since this device will only let you drive if you aren’t drunk.
  4. It is budget friendly. The reduced number of accidents means fewer damages to people and cars. The jail time for drunk driving can be quite serious and the cost of repairing a car that had an accident is very high compared to the installation and maintenance cost of the ignition interlock devices.

If you are facing charges for DUI, be sure to contact Legal Aed for all of your Fresno criminal defense needs!

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