If you are facing a conviction for drunk driving in California, you are likely to lose your driving privilege. Losing one's driving license through suspension or revocation means that they will not be able to drive their cars again for some time or life. Many people depend on their vehicles to get to work, attend school, and run errands, among other things. Revocation or suspension will not work well for them.

That is why we at the Orange County DUI Defense Attorney Law Firm help our clients obtain Interlock Ignition Devices (IIDs). The devices will enable a DUI offender to still use their car with no limitation within the license suspension period. An IID is a small breathalyzer that will not allow the driver to operate their vehicle without providing a breath sample that must contain no trace of alcohol. If you are on the verge of losing your driving privileges and you would like to consider having an IID installed in your car, get in touch with us.

Understanding California Ignition Interlock Device Systems

Ignition Device systems are small forms of a breathalyzer whose size is like that of a mobile phone and are attached to the steering wheel of a car. The court orders the installation of these devices as part of a DUI offender's probation. Not all DUI penalties include the installation of the IID. However, if a judge orders you to have it installed, the installation will be done in your car. Again, the DUI offender will be the one to assume all the expenses involved in the installation and maintenance of the IID. Note that after installation, the court will require you to have the IID serviced at least every two months.

If you are guilty of drunk driving in the state of California and the court orders you to have the device installed in your car, you must do the following:

  • You must find a professional IID installer in the state to have the equipment professionally installed in your car
  • You must have the device fitted in every vehicle that you drive. The only exemptions to this rule are motorcycles and cars owned by employers

After the installation of the equipment in your car, the court will expect you to blow into it every time you want to start the vehicle. If this doesn't happen or your breath contains some traces of alcohol, then the car won't start. As you continue driving, the device will continuously require random breath samples. It will happen between 5 and 15 minutes after the driver has just started their journey and then after every 45 minutes after that. When the device asks for random tests, the driver will have about 6 minutes to blow into it. That is enough time for the driver to stop the car if he/she does not feel safe blowing into the device while driving.

You must ensure that the samples you provide to the IID are free of any alcohol. It is the only way to continue enjoying the privilege of driving your car after a DUI conviction. If you fail in any of these tests, the system will not incapacitate your vehicle. Instead, it will record a flop on the log that reports to the criminal court.

Note that IID devices in California are designed in a way that only the driver will be able to blow into them to provide their breath sample. For this to be accomplished, the following have been done:

  • The design of the devices is in such a manner that they can only take a specific pattern of a breath sample. If the trend changes, it will be an indication that someone else other than the targeted driver is blowing into it.
  • These devices come with a very short cable that can only stretch to the driver and not to the passengers or the back seats. with that, there is no way the driver can request his/her companion to blow into the device on their behalf
  • The design of the equipment is also in a way to call for arbitrary samples, even when the driver is still driving. With that, there is no way to escape if you have been drinking
  • California law makes it an offense for a driver to ask another person to falsely provide their breath sample in place of the DUI offender.

In addition to that, IIDs features a unique technology that is highly advanced and able to detect and register the following:

  • Every attempt by the driver to remove or even tamper with it
  • Every time the offender's car starts and when it stops
  • Every result for every breath sample the driver provides

Violations That Require a Mandatory Installation of California IID

DUI is a significant problem, not just in California but in the country at large. Many people have lost their lives in accidents caused by drunk driving. That is why California laws are stringent when it comes to operating vehicles under the influence. When a person gets a DUI conviction, the most likely consequence is to lose their driving privilege. It could either be through revocation, restriction, or suspension, depending on the gravity of their case. When that happens, the DUI offender is not able to use their car for life or a specified period.

A California judge is always at discretion in deciding punishments for DUI convictions. He/she can choose to order for IID installation as part of the penalty for an offender's sentence. The court might order IId installation for a regular DUI offense, DUI, on suspended licenses or DUI involving injuries, among other crimes. Generally, whether or not the offender will be expected to have an IID installed in his/her car is dependent on the judge. However, the court can only expect first-time DUI offenders to have the device installed in cases where they refused to yield to DUI testing after an arrest. Here are instances the judge can order installation of an IID device in California:

First DUI Offenders

As mentioned above, a California judge will order the installation of an IID system based on the gravity of the DUI offense of which the offender is convicted. If this is your first DUI offense, for instance, the judge will require you to have the system fixed in your car if you are facing the following convictions:

  • A conviction for violating Section 23152(a) of California Vehicle Code. It is the law that makes it illegal for a person to operate a vehicle under the effects of drugs or alcohol. the judge would require you to have the device fitted in your vehicle for a specified period if your Blood Alcohol Content at the time of arrest was at 0.015% or more
  • A DUI conviction after failing to give in to DUI breath or blood testing
  • A DUI conviction for violating Section 23152(b) of California Vehicle Code. It is the law that makes it unlawful for anyone to operate a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or higher
  • A conviction for violating Section 14601 of California Vehicle Code for driving a car on a suspended driver's license. The suspension must have stemmed from a DUI conviction

When it comes to first DUI offenders, the judge will only require them to keep the device installed in their vehicle for six months. If the offender is not sentenced to DUI in a California criminal court, but the state's Department of Motor Vehicles has found the offender liable, they will be expected to install and maintain an IID system in their vehicle for four months.

Repeat DUI Convictions

The punishment for a repeat DUI conviction is usually more than the first conviction. That is why California criminal law requires judges to order for mandatory installation of IID systems. The length that the installed device must last depends on the number of prior DUI convictions the offender has in their record, as follows.

  • A second-DUI offender will be needed to install and keep an IID device in their vehicle for one year after their second conviction
  • A third offense will be needed to install and maintain the equipment in their vehicle for two years following the third conviction
  • A fourth offender will be needed to install and maintain an IID in their vehicle for three years following their fourth conviction

Note that this only applies to an ordinary DUI conviction. If a driver is facing a repeat DUI conviction and they caused another person injuries or property damage, they will be expected to have the device installed in their car for two years following their second DUI conviction and three years following their third DUI conviction. The length of time in which the offender must have the device installed increases with the gravity of the offense.

If a repeat DUI offender is not convicted by the criminal court but is found guilty of DUI by DMV, the compulsory period within which they must have the IID installed in their vehicle will only be one year. The period will be the same, whether it is a 2nd or 3rd conviction.

Here is a table that summarizes the period for the California IID installation. Note that this is only required if the offender does not want to lose their driving privilege to license suspension or revocation.

Type of California DUI Conviction

Length of Time for Mandatory Installation of IID

First offense Sections 23152(a) and 23152(b) of California Vehicle Code

Six months

Second Offense Sections 23152(a) and 23152(b) of California Vehicle Code

One year

Third offense Sections 23152(a) and 23152(b) of California Vehicle Code

Two years

Fourth and subsequent offenses Sections 23152(a) and 23152(b) of California Vehicle Code

Three years

First offense DUI resulting in injuries

One year

Second offense DUI resulting in injuries

Two years

Third offense DUI resulting in injuries

Three years

 In addition to the above situations in which a judge will require a DUI offender to have an IID installed in their vehicle, there are other types of DUI convictions in which a mandatory installation of IID will be necessary. These are:

Operating a Vehicle on a Suspended Driver's License

The offense is a violation of Section 14601 of the California Vehicle Code. Suspension of driver's licenses is usually a punishment for drunk driving in California. If the offender goes ahead and uses the suspended license, they will have to fix an IID device in their vehicle to be able to use their licenses again. The length of time the installation will last will depend on the type of license violation, as well as the number of prior suspended license and DUI violations there are in the offender's record. In that case, the offender may have to maintain a functional IID system in their vehicle for between one and three years.

IID System as a License Restriction Condition

A restricted driver's license is one that is issued after license suspension or revocation to allow a DUI offender to drive to specified places. If a DUI offender has been released on probation and is required to maintain a permanent job and complete a DUI program, it is only fair for the court to permits them to drive to and from those places. However, this comes with a condition, which is to have an IID system fitted in your car. Once the installation is complete, the offender will be able to go to work or school, attend the court-imposed DUI program and run other errands included in the restriction even after their license has been revoked or suspended.

The Cost of Installation of California IIDs

As mentioned earlier, the cost of IID installation falls directly on the DUI offender. The court will order the installation, but it will be at the expense of the driver. For that reason, it is essential to understand what the costs are to be ready when the time to have the system installed comes.

Typically, an IID system in California will cost the driver about $2.50 every day. The overall cost depends on the company you will contract for installation. In addition to that everyday cost, some companies will charge an additional amount ranging between $75 and $100 for the installation. It is usually exclusive of the calibration and maintenance fees for the device, whose charges are different.

However, there is hope for DUI offenders who are unable to afford the cost of IID installation but have been ordered by the court to have it installed in their vehicle. California has a pilot program that is under Section 23700 of California vehicle Code. Under this law, those drivers are allowed to pay a part of the overall costs. The rest of the money is catered for by the IID installation company.

Generally, the cost of an IID device is determined by:

  • The features the driver is required to have, such as GPS, camera, and real-time reporting
  • The length that the system will be installed in the vehicle
  • The IID installer you will choose to work with

The good news is that California-approved IID installers will give you all the information you need. Relevant information includes installation costs, monthly lease, removal, maintenance, and periodic calibration. You get this information beforehand, so you can choose the provider to contact.

Finding the Right IID Installer in California

There are court-accepted IID installers in California. These are what you should be looking for if the court has ordered you to have the device installed in your car. Some of the court-approved companies have several locations all over the state, which are also accepted by the court. Some of the best IID installers to consider in California include:

  • Sens-O-Lock
  • California Smart Start
  • Alcohol Detection Systems
  • Intoxalock
  • Guardian Interlock

It is advisable to go through each of these company's websites to learn more about them. Then you can make an informed choice of the one to contact for your needs.

Is It Possible for a California IID to Register a False DUI Result?

California IIDs have been in use for a long time because of their reliability. An IID system is the only way the court can ensure that DUI offenders are not risking their lives and the lives of other people on the road by drunk driving. Registering a false positive result will mean that the device cannot be relied upon to provide accurate results.

What you need to know is that most IIDs in California operate by a technology referred to as fuel cell technology. This type of technology is specific to alcohol, which means that the device is never affected by other external interferences. With that, it will be correct to say that chances of the device recording a false-positive result are little, even in the presence of substances such as perfume, cigarette smoke, and gasoline, among others.

However, even the slightest amount of liquor in the user's breath will be registered once they blow into the device. It shows that if you have used an alcohol-based mouthwash or eaten a candy that is liquor-filled, or even eats pastry, the device will pick on that amount of alcohol on your mouth and register it as alcohol in your breath. The good thing is that as soon as the device registers a positive result, you get another chance to test again almost immediately. In most cases, these low amounts of alcohol in your breath disappear in no time. Again, flashing your mouth in-between these tests could help in such situations.

California IID Laws in 2019

New laws are in place for the expansion and adoption of Interlock Device systems in all parts of the state of California. According to these new laws, any driver whose driver's license has been suspended will be needed to have an IID installed in their vehicle for their license to be reinstated. The only chance a driver has to avoid driving their car with an IID system in it is by avoiding operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If a person found guilty of DUI and they are convicted after that, they may have to lose their driving privileges or have an IID installed in their car.

The new IID laws in California went into effect at the beginning of the year 2019. In the beginning, IID laws were just part of a pilot program in most counties in California, but after the signing of that bill by Governor Jerry Brown, the bill became Statewide. According to this new law, any driver whose driver's license has been suspended for drunk driving with a certain BAC level will be eligible for a restricted license.

The drivers who agree to have an IID installed in their vehicle will be able to have their licenses reinstated much quickly without having to wait for the period of suspension to elapse. Once you get the device installed in your car and the court grants your back your driving privileges, you will be able to drive anywhere you wish and not just in specific places, as was the case with restricted licenses.

This new law will remain active until the beginning of the year 2016. Over these years, if the program is considered useful, it will be extended for a much longer period. The opposite will happen if the program does not work to serve its purpose.

Find an Orange County DUI Defense Attorney Law Firm Near Me

Losing one's driving privilege is not an easy thing to handle. It is so mainly if you depend on your car to run essential errands and get to work or school. However, that can happen quickly if you get convicted for DUI. California DUI laws can be quite unforgiving, and losing your license to suspension or revocation is possible. However, there is still hope of retaining your driver's license if you agree to have an IID system installed in your car. At Orange County DUI Defense Attorney Law Firm, we help you understand the requirements, process, and rights as far as the installation of IIDs is concerned. Call us at 714-740-7866 for quality legal advice and guidance.