As of Jan. 1, Californians who are convicted of drunk driving have a greater chance of being required to get an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in their car(s) if they want to drive again in the near future. The new law expands a pilot program that’s been in place since 2010 in four counties: Alameda, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Tulare.
Most states have laws that require IIDs for at least some DUI offenders. Many (32) require them even for first DUI convictions. Here in California, people will be required to have an IID if their first DUI involved an injury to someone. A second DUI, with or without injuries, will result in an order for an IID.
These are Breathalyzer-type devices that require drivers to breathe into them to show that there’s no alcohol on their breath before they can start the car. Additional testing may be required while the driver is on the road.
State Sen. Jerry Hill of San Mateo, the lawmaker behind the legislation that expanded IID mandates, says that these devices are more effective in keeping drunk drivers off the road than license suspensions. Hill, whose best friend was killed in the 1980s by a drunk driver, says, “We’ve seen people on a suspended license continue to drive and continue to cause destruction.”
Drivers who are required to have an IID, as well as those who choose to get one when they don’t have to in exchange for having their driving restrictions lifted, are responsible for paying the fees associated with the device. Installation can cost as much as $150. The monthly maintenance fees are about $60 to $80. People with low incomes can seek help in paying these expenses.
No DUI arrest, even a first one, should be taken lightly. The consequences can be serious. If you’re facing DUI charges, it’s valuable to seek experienced legal guidance.