License suspension is one of the negative consequences of a DUI arrest or conviction. Once your license is suspended, you cannot legally drive in California. However, you can continue driving with unrestricted rights by installing an ignition interlock device. The ignition interlock device measures your BAC level before you drive your car and as you drive. It then sends the log of your results to the court. A court-approved organization must do the installation of an IID.

The use of ignition interlock devices in California has contributed to a decline in drunk driving cases by up to 95%. The positive results have led to increased requirements that drivers install these devices as part of their probation requirements for a DUI conviction. The Law Offices of Jeff Voll works closely with clients to help them find an approved installation company. We also help you understand any additional requirements related to ignition interlock devices.

An Overview of Ignition Interlock Devices

An ignition interlock device is a cell-phone sized device you place on your dashboard. The device connects to your ignition system. Ignition interlock devices require that you submit a clean breath sample before you start driving.

The device locks the ignition system and prevents your car from starting if you provide a breath sample with a detectable amount of alcohol. It will also ask for random samples as you drive to determine whether you are drinking while driving. However, the device will not stop your car if it detects alcohol while driving. It will send a log to the court, indicating that you failed your breath test.

You may install an IID as part of the DUI sentence, or as a request to the DMV to restore your driving privileges after a DUI arrest. The time you drive with an IID will depend on the DUI offense and any prior DUI or related convictions as follows:

  • Six months of IID installation for a first DUI offense
  • One year DUI installation for a second DUI offense
  • Two years IID installation for a third offense
  • Three-year IID installation for third and subsequent offenses

The accuracy of IID devices has made them a reliable option for reducing repeat drunk driving offenses. An IID is so accurate that it can detect any interference or attempt to interfere with the device. These devices also record such attempts to interfere or bypass the device.

Interfering with the device is a violation that could result in fines and jail time. The common violations associated with the use of an IID include:

  • Driving without fulfilling the requirements to install an IID
  • Failing to service and maintain the device for consecutively for three times
  • Tampering with the device
  • Removing the IID
  • Failure to disclose the IID requirement to a car rental firm or your employer
  • Allowing another person to take a sample on your behalf

For some people, an IID can be embarrassing or intrusive. However, you can find a discrete model that easily blends with your car. You can speak to a lawyer before installing one for guidance on the available options depending on your case.

Installation and Driving with an IID

Once the court convicts you for a DUI, it will notify the DMV about the conviction. The DMV will then send you an order to install an IID within thirty days. Failure to comply with the order will result in a conviction under VC 23573. The Department of Consumer Affairs issues licenses to IID installers. You must choose a California-certified installer to install the device in your car. You can find certified installers on the Department of Consumer Affairs website.

You are responsible for the costs associated with installing and maintaining the IID. The cost of the device varies depending on the installer. Therefore, you could inquire about the prices of various providers. You could also check various models to determine the features and functionality. The main features of an IID include:

  • A Breathalyzer to measure the concentration of alcohol in your breath
  • An immobilizer which prevents your car from starting until you provide a clean breath sample

An IID could also have different features depending on the manufacturer. Additional features could include:

  • IID camera which provides a record of the person taking the Breathalyzer tests
  • IID mouthpiece
  • A mounting bracket
  • A display
  • The navigation panel

Most IID costs between $75 and $150 for the first installation and maintenance costs of between $50 and $75. The installer will also teach you how to use the device. You are exempt from driving a vehicle with an IID if the car is your employer's vehicle. However, you must notify the employer of the IID requirement.

How an IID Enhances Accuracy and Efficiency

As mentioned earlier, ignition interlock devices have proven to be accurate devices. They can detect outside interference, attempts to bypass, or attempts to have another person provide a sample on your behalf. An IID achieves this efficiency through:

  • Requiring you to submit random samples as you drive
  • The device has a short cord that cannot reach the passengers' seats
  • The device has a hum-tone and blow and suck pattern recognition to prevent another person from blowing on your behalf
  • Penalties to the driver and the person who assists the driver in violating an IID device
  • A camera that records the person providing the sample

An IID violation can result in stiff penalties. These include:

  • A fine of up to $5000
  • A sentence of up to six months in county jail
  • License suspension for one year

IID Lockout

California requires that every IID have a lockout feature. The lockout feature prevents you from operating the car temporarily or permanently. The temporary lockout feature requires you to provide a clean breath sample to start your car. The device will allow you several attempts to provide a clean sample. The device will go into permanent lockout if you fail the breath tests several times. Other factors that could trigger a permanent lockout include:

  • Failure to calibrate the device
  • Any attempts to interfere with or bypass the device
  • Failure to submit a rollout test (the test you provide while driving)
  • Interference with the device during a regular servicing

Once the vehicle goes into permanent lockout, you must have the vehicle towed for service. Note that the device will also report any lockout incidents as well as their cause.

IID Maintenance and Calibration

Ignition interlock devices require regular maintenance, usually 30 to 60 days. The device will notify you a few days before the servicing day. If you fail to service the device, your car will lockout. You should notify your mechanic that your car has an IID so that he or she can take steps to prevent a lockout. Some of the steps your mechanic can take include:

  • Get an access code to allow a bypass when conducting repairs
  • Recharge or replace your battery
  • Protecting the device from dust or contact with alcohol-based solvents
  • Maintaining the device

A certified installer must do repairs and servicing of your IID. Alternatively, you can go to a mechanic who has certifications in servicing IID from the IID manufacturer. Most of the servicing visits will involve calibration of the IID. Calibration involves:

  • Downloading the logs from your device
  • Adjusting the device to enhance performance and accuracy

During the calibration process, the technician will show land et you provide a sample and adjust the device for accuracy. Calibration of the device is important in enhancing the precision. Usually, the device loses its precision over time. It, therefore, has to be reset to allow efficiency. A device that is well-calibrated will:

  • Record the exact level of alcohol in your breath
  • The time you take the start-up as well as rolling retests
  • Your performance of the test
  • Any attempts to bypass the device
  • Any skipped rolling retests

You can also visit your installer for removal of the IID if:

  • You have changed your vehicle or have more than one vehicle in your name
  • Your car has been stolen, or unavailable
  • You want to change the IID model
  • The IID term has ended

Find a DUI Attorney Near Me

The loss of your driving privileges is one of the negative consequences of a DUI arrest or a conviction. Once you are arrested, the DMV gives you thirty days before automatically suspending your license. If you do not challenge the suspension within ten days, you will lose your driving privileges. However, an IID allows you to restore your full driving privileges. Once you install an IID, you can drive anywhere as long as you do not have a detectable amount of alcohol. However, you must adhere to the requirements of the court.

The Law Offices of Jeff Voll provides defense services to people charged with DUI. We help you protect your license from suspension. We do this by requesting to have an IID installed in your car instead of a restricted license. We also direct you to approved providers who can install the device in your car and defend you if you violate any IID requirements. Contact us at 323-467-6400 for a free consultation or questions you may have regarding your device.