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Ignition Interlock Devices


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11/11/2011
James W Harwood
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A growing trend seen in driving under the influence law is the use of ignition interlock devices (IID). An IID is essentially a breathalyzer that is installed in your car. It connects to your car's ignition system, and requires you to blow into it to start your car. If the device measures any alcohol in your breath your car will not start. You also have to periodically blow into the device while driving; I guess to keep you from drinking while you're driving. The devices usually have features built in to prevent tampering or using some sort of mechanical air blower.

Once you are convicted of driving under the influence the court generally has the option of whether or not to require you to install an IID to drive. The exception to this is in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare counties. In those counties, a pilot program requiring IIDs for all people convicted of DUI is being tried, even first time offenders. Of course, it is highly likely that this pilot program will eventually be adopted state wide, and everyone convicted of DUI will have to go through the hassle and expense of installing these machines. However, for now IIDs are just optional for the rest of us.

If you have been ordered to install and use an IID, it is in fact a crime to drive without one, to attempt to circumvent the device, or to solicit someone else to blow into your IID.

The good thing about IIDs is that they often allow you to drive much sooner than you otherwise could. If your DUI was alcohol only, and you had another DUI within 10 years, you can apply for an IID restricted license after 90 days of suspension. Without the IID restriction, you would have to wait 2 years to get your license back. You must also show proof of enrollment in the 18 month DUI program, verification of IID installation, proof of insurance, and payment of all fees.

For third offense alcohol only DUIs, you can apply for an IID restricted license after 6 months of suspension and showing all of the other items in the previous paragraph. Without an IID restricted license you would have to wait 3 years to get your license back.

If your second or third DUI was drug related you can apply for an IID restricted license after 12 months.

If you were convicted of DUI with three or more prior convictions you can apply for an IID restricted license after 12 months, but you must actually complete 12 months of the 18 month program before you are eligible.

It is important to note that you are not eligible for an IID restricted license if you refused to submit to a chemical test when you were arrested. You also must be at least 21 years old. In addition, the judge sentencing you can exclude you from the program for a second DUI.

Keep in mind that participating in the IID restricted license involves significant expense (as if you are not paying enough for your DUI already). First, there are the fees to the court and DMV. Then there is the cost to install the device, which can range anywhere from $50 to $200. Then you have to pay a monthly IID rental fee of $50 to $100. You may also have to pay for maintenance, calibration, and data downloading. Of course, these expenses are probably slight in comparison to not being able to drive to work.


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