Ignition Interlock Devices: What You Need to Know

One of the many possible consequences of being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in California is the requirement to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. An IID is a small electronic device which attaches to the ignition of your car and prevents you from being able to start your vehicle unless you are able to provide a breath sample with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) below a certain level. In addition to startup, some IIDs require drivers to supply periodic breath samples while the car is already running, with any missed or failed tests being logged and reported to law enforcement.

Are Ignition Interlock Devices Effective?

The logic behind the devices is simple: by preventing drunk drivers from being able to start their vehicles in the first place, IIDs help to minimize the temptation to drive drunk and add an extra layer of accountability. According to statistics from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), IIDs help to reduce repeat drunk driving offenses by up to 67% while they are installed when compared to just a license suspension alone, along with a 39% reduction in repeat offenses even after the device is removed compared to offenders who never had an IID installed. As of 2016, 28 states plus DC and a pilot program in California have laws mandating IID use for first-time convicted drunk drivers, with an estimated 328,000 devices being in use throughout the nation.

What Happens If I Fail an IID Breath Test?

If you fail an IID breath test, the consequences you face will vary depending on why you failed and when you failed. There are several ways that you can fail an interlock test, such as your mouthwash triggering a false positive or the fermentation of fruit juice in your mouth. With that being said, the most likely reason for a failure is if you have been drinking. IIDs can pick up BAC levels in the 0.02% range and are equipped with anti-circumvention technology to prevent drivers from trying to cheat the devices.

If you fail the test, the device will enter a "lockout period" and you will be unable to start your vehicle for a certain amount of time, usually a few minutes for a first failed test and a longer waiting period for a subsequent failure. If you continue to fail tests, you may be removed from the pilot program and will be unable to drive. Since abstinence from alcohol is a condition of many convicted drunk drivers' probation, failing a test can also result in the termination of probation and the implementation of their original sentence – oftentimes resulting in jail time.

Accused of Drunk Driving? Dial (888) 392-8114

If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI or is facing consequences for failing an IID test, it is vital you consult a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible to guard your future and freedom. At the Law Office of Frances Prizzia our team of powerful Orange County DUI attorneys have successfully defended hundreds of accused clients and can provide the tenacious support you need to maximize your chances of securing a favorable outcome for your situation.

Schedule your free case evaluation online today to discover your defense options in full detail.