Being arrested and convicted for driving under the influence in California carries with it a variety of penalties. In addition to the possibility that the driver will face a driver’s license suspension, fines and jail time, there might also be the requirement that an ignition interlock device be installed on the vehicle. This device is meant to prevent the driver from operating the vehicle after consuming alcohol. There are, however, violations that can be committed in relation to the device.

The law is designed to allow the driver to operate a vehicle under the restrictions inherent with the device. For the ignition to start, the operator must blow into the machine. Once the machine registers that the person has not been drinking alcohol, the vehicle will start. There is also a requirement that the driver intermittently blow into the machine while driving to ensure that there was no alcohol consumption in the interim from when the vehicle started to the subsequent test. That driver is responsible for the maintenance of the device and it is checked for attempts to tamper with it or remove it. There are consequences for the driver attempting these acts. Failure to adhere to the requirements of installing the working device can spark a conviction of a misdemeanor with the person jailed for up to six months and/or fined up to $5,000.

There are other penalties related to ignition interlock device violations. Drivers might try to rent a vehicle that does not have the device. This is illegal for the person who rents or lends the vehicle to the driver who was convicted of DUI as well as the driver. Other tactics a driver might use to circumvent the ignition interlock device include having another person blow into the device so the vehicle will start. This too will result in a jail sentence of up to six months and/or a fine of up to $5,000. There can also be a driver’s license suspension for one year from the date of conviction.

These devices can be installed for up to three years after the DUI conviction. Courts ordering this penalty and letting a driver drive even after the DUI conviction frequently hinges on the circumstances of the DUI arrest, the blood-alcohol concentration and other factors. Examples of when the device could be necessary is for people who need their vehicle to get back and forth to work or have children to transport. Being granted the right to drive with an ignition interlock device after a DUI conviction is helpful for myriad reasons. Still, allegations of violating the law with these devices can make the situation worse with enhanced charges, license suspensions and jail time.

Formulating a defense against these allegations may be essential to driving privileges being restored and avoiding these consequences. It is especially important for immigrants to be aware of all DUI laws from the traffic stop all the way through to the installation and proper use of an ignition interlock device. To be fully protected, anyone dealing with DUI and an ignition interlock device may benefit from having legal advice.