New Ignition Interlock Device Requirements in California DUI Cases

Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 1046 into law, effective January 1, 2019. The bill is a statewide expansion of a pilot program that ran in Alameda, Los Angeles, Tulare and Sacramento counties. The law will now require anyone convicted of even a first time DUI to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on the vehicle that they drive.

An ignition interlock device is installed on a vehicle’s steering column and requires the driver to blow into the device and verify that they have no alcohol in their bloodstream to operate the vehicle. An IID is similar to a breathalyzer. The device requires a “clean breath” to start the vehicle and also requires “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. A failed test or evidence of an attempt to tamper with the device could lead to a revocation of the restricted license.

While this is an onerous condition that will cost money, the silver lining is that you can now avoid what used to be a mandatory thirty-day license suspension. Once the IID is installed, you will be immediately eligible for a restricted license and do not have to serve any “hard suspension” of your privilege to drive.

The amount of time that the IID is mandated differs depending on the offense. For a first offense, the requirement is 6 months, a second requires a year, a third requires 2 years, and a fourth or subsequent offense requires the IID be installed for 3 years. If you install the device prior to conviction to avoid a hard suspension, the time you have the device installed prior to conviction will be credited toward the requirement.

The device must be installed and maintained by a state licensed service dealer, the cost is generally about sixty to eighty dollars per month.

For this and numerous other reasons, if you have been arrested for a DUI offense, it is very important to find a lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced DUI attorney will be able to help you navigate these requirements and connect you with reputable vendors to make the significant consequences of a DUI arrest as manageable as possible.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI offense, contact my office immediately for a no-cost / no obligation consultation.