Following a robust and extensive pilot program in parts of California, new legislation that came into effect at the beginning of this year has significantly changed penalties for DUI offenses by requiring or providing the option to install an ignition interlock device in many more cases. Governor Edmund Brown signed into law SB 1046, which aims to reduce repeat drunk driving offenses. However, although the IID may give greater freedom to some offenders and can be an excellent option, there are several reports, one by The International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety and another conducted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles in 2015, that both conclude no significant data to support a correlating decrease in repeat offenses.
Regardless of the statistics, the new law will bring significant changes for those facing DUI charges. The following will help clarify details of IID requirements and installation after a DUI offense.
The ignition interlock device (IID) may be court ordered, ordered by the DMV, or procured by the choice of a DUI offender. If you violate a restriction on your driver’s license, like driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license after a DUI conviction, the DMV will then require an IID restriction on your license. You will then need to submit verification of the installation.
An IID is a breathalyzer about the size of a cell phone connected to the ignition of a car that prohibits the car from turning on if the driver is over the legal alcohol limit. In addition to this, the IID requires a breath reading in increments of 5-15 minutes while driving. If a driver fails one of these incremental readings, the information will be recorded.
As of January 1st, 2019, first, second, third and any subsequent offenders will be required to install an IID in order to reinstate their license. IID installation is a bit controversial. For many, being able to drive freely after a DUI is a welcomed luxury and affords people the freedom to continue with their daily lives. For others, who may need to drive clients or coworkers for work, this prospect can be humiliating and unwelcome. While previous legislation generally required a 30-day license suspension period for DUI offenders before obtaining a restricted license, the IID installation, on the other hand, allows drivers to drive freely at any time, as long as the IID is installed and utilized.
Since 2010, IID installation has been piloted in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare. For these counties, not much will change, but for counties who were not involved in the pilot program, this means that those facing a DUI charge who are eligible for an IID, may skip the 30-day suspension period before obtaining a restricted license and may continue driving, as long as the IID is installed in the car.
Most individuals facing a DUI offense will be required to have an IID installed in their car for a period of time. For the first offense, an IID will be installed for 6 months. A second offense will require an IID installation for a year, a third offense will require 2 years and subsequent offenses will require 3 years.
As welcomed as the new IID law may be, it is even more preferable to be able to drive freely with no IID on your vehicle. If you or your loved one are facing a DUI charge, your first priority should be to fight the charges against you. A knowledgeable and experienced DUI defense attorney may be able to get essential evidence in your case excluded from the record, causing the prosecution to dismiss the charges against you.
Each and every case is unique. For an assessment of your case, contact the Law Office of Christopher J. McCann today for a complimentary consultation.