State expands ignition interlock device program

The Governor recently signed into law a bill that extends a four-county pilot requiring IIDs for all DUI convictions to the entire state.

In 2010, the state of California launched what was then a temporary program involving the use of ignition interlock devices. The program, originally intended to last for 18 months, required that every driver convicted of an impaired driving offense install and use an ignition interlock device. This pilot was conducted in four counties around the state, including in Alameda County. The other three counties involved were Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulane.

At the end of September 2016, the Governor of California signed a bill that extends the pilot in both duration and scope. Effective January 2019, the provisions of the ignition interlock bill will be in effect in every county in the state, not just the initial four counties.

Length of use varies based upon number of offenses

As with other penalties for drunk driving in California, the requirements for using an ignition interlock device increase with each subsequent drunk driving conviction that a driver has.

People who are convicted of a first driving while under the influence charge in which no person was injured will actually have a choice about their use of an IID. They may elect to use an IID for a full six months, during which time they will be able to drive without any restrictions. They can go anywhere they want, anytime they want.

Alternatively, these drivers may opt to avoid the use of an IID but that option comes with some serious limitations. For a full 12 months, these drivers will be restricted as to when and where they can drive. They will only be allowed to drive to certain destinations such as work or school for the entire year.

If a first DUI conviction is associated with an injury accident, an IID must be used for six months. Judges are allowed to use their discretion when issuing IID requirements for first-time offenders.

A second DUI conviction will result in the mandated use of an ignition interlock device for 12 months. Upon third or fourth DUI convictions, the IID period extends to 24 or 36 months, respectively.

Help for drivers arrested for DUI charges

People who must install and use IIDs are also responsible for all costs associated with the devices. This can add to the burden that defendants must carry and make a DUI arrest even more complicated. Talking to an attorney after a DUI arrest is always recommended as this gives drivers the best ability to understand the ever-changing laws and how they may be affected by them.