If you have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) installing an Ignition Interlock Device, also referred to as an IID, may help return your driving privileges. If you are unfamiliar with how an IID works the device requires you to blow into it to determine if any alcohol can be detected on your breath. If the results are positive, meaning alcohol was found, the device will prevent your vehicle from starting. As you operate your vehicle you will also be periodically required to provide breath samples to ensure no alcohol can be detected in your system. In certain DUI convictions the option of installing an IID may be available to you which can help shorten the license suspension period.
Driving privileges with an Ignition Interlock Device
It may seem that an IID is actually quite restrictive, however, when you think about it you may actually have more freedom with an IID installed in your vehicle than you would without one. It is not uncommon for unrestricted driving to be granted so long as the IID is installed which means you can drive your vehicle for things beyond going to and from work.
Typically it is up to the court’s discretion to determine whether or not you will be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device following a DUI conviction. However, if you are convicted of a DUI in a criminal court in Los Angeles, Alameda, Tulare or Sacramento Counties an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) will be required to be installed on any vehicle that you own or operate. The period of restriction, as well as the period of suspension before you can drive with an interlock, vary depending on whether or not you have previous DUI convictions.
In California, a DUI conviction can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of your case. Most first time offenses, for example, are charged as misdemeanors which typically have lesser penalties. This is of course under the assumption that nobody was hurt or killed as a result of your DUI. If you were involved in an accident as part of your DUI and someone was hurt or killed you will likely be charged with felony DUI.
For misdemeanors the Interlock installation period is typically as follows:
- First offense within 10 years – 5 months
- Second offense within 10 years – 12 months
- Third offense within 10 years – 24 months
- Fourth offense or more – 36 months
For felony convictions the Interlock installation period is typically as follows:
- First offense within 10 years – 12 months
- Second offense within 10 years – 24 months
- Third offense within 10 years – 36 months
- Fourth offense or more – 48 months
If the court has ordered you to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed you must have one installed by an authorized installer and you must also provide proof to the court that you had it installed. The California Department of Motor Vehicles has a list of installers for Ignition Interlock Devices.
The court has special forms and procedures it follows to monitor drivers who have been ordered to have an IID installed. The court also notifies the DMV which marks it on your driving record so that if you are stopped by law enforcement officers they are aware that you are supposed to have the device installed. The DMV will also place a restriction on your license during this time and if you fail to comply with the court-ordered restrictions of the Ignition Interlock Device the court will notify the DMV and your driving privileges may be lost until you are able to comply with the court order.
Do Ignition Interlock Devices work?
The short answer is yes. In fact, the International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety states that Ignition Interlock Devices, in combination with comprehensive monitoring service programs, lead to a 40%-95% reduction in the rate of repeat drunk driving offenses among DUI offenders as long as the device remains installed on the vehicle.