Ignition Interlock Devices in California for DUIs
1. Ignition Interlock Device California
An ignition interlock device (IID) is essentially a breathalyzer that is installed into a person’s vehicle that will not allow the vehicle to be operated if any alcohol registers from the driver blowing into the device. In California, the initial pilot program requiring installation of the devices for first time DUI offenders was tested out in Los Angeles County, as well as Tulare, Alameda, and Sacramento. The program was intended to test out the effectiveness of IIDs in preventing repeat offenses.
A DMV report found that the interlock devices were 74% more effective than license suspensions for preventing repeat DUIs for first time offenders. Groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving also pushed for the implementation of permanent statewide laws requiring the IIDs on all DUI convictions.
The California legislature responded to this information by passing Senate Bill 1046 (SB 1046) which will take the IID requirement statewide beginning in 2019. The pilot program has already been extended previously in the four test counties and will likely exist until the statewide law takes effect.
The bill requires the following penalties as it relates to the ignition interlock devices in California:
· for a first DUI offense involving an injury, an IID would be required for six months;
· for first non-injury DUI offense, an offender may choose to have an IID for six months with full driving privileges, or a one-year restricted license that only allows driving to work, alongside a treatment program;
· for a second DUI offense, an IID would be required for a year;
· for a third DUI, an IID would be required for two years; and
· for fourth and subsequent DUIs, IIDs would be required for three years.
The only choice available to a DUI defendant would be for first time DUI defendants. The choice would be only for non-injury first time DUI offenses. Either the defendant could accept 6 months of an IID but with full driving privileges, or a one year restricted license without the IID. The IID devices cost roughly $60-$80 per month and cost around $75-$150 to install.
The bill is not a surprise as California joins 28 other states that require the devices for all DUI offenders. The change in the law will make the difference between first time DUI charges and “wet reckless” convictions more dramatic and may result in more DUI trials.