An Ignition Interlock Device (“IID”) is a device that connects to a vehicle’s ignition and requires a breath sample from the driver in order to start the vehicle and to keep the car operating.
An IID is approximately the size of a cell phone with a plastic tube and mouthpiece attached. If the device determines that the driver has alcohol in his or her breath sample, the device will prevent the vehicle from starting. While driving the vehicle, the device will periodically sound an alert. When this occurs, the driver will have to provide an alcohol-free breath sample to keep the car operating.
DMV & IID
California courts and the Department of Motor Vehicles have embraced IID devices as a way to prevent DUI offenses. Increasingly, drivers who have been convicted of DUI offenses or DUI-related license suspensions must now install and maintain an IID device in their vehicle for a fixed period of time.
California Pilot Program
The California DMV is currently conducting a pilot program requiring anyone convicted of a DUI offense in Los Angeles, Alameda, Sacramento or Tulare County to install an IID in their vehicle. The pilot program applies to all DUI offenses occurring on July 1, 2010 or after and will last until December 31, 2015. The purpose of the IID pilot program is to reduce the number of DUI offenses and to provide the DMV with useful data to evaluate the effectiveness of IID devices in reducing the occurrence of DUI offenses. A wet reckless conviction under California Vehicle Code Section 23103/23103.5 will not trigger the IID requirement in the pilot program counties.
IID & Prior Convictions
In addition to those convicted of DUI offenses in the pilot program counties, people convicted of DUI offenses may be required to install and maintain an IID device in their vehicle if they have prior DUI convictions. In many cases, having an IID installed will allow someone with a second or subsequent DUI get a restricted license during their suspension period. For example, a person convicted of a second DUI offense will typically have his or her driving privileges suspended for a year. However, after a 90 day hard suspension they now may be able to get a restricted license if they install an IID device in their vehicle. This opportunity for a restricted license would not exist if the driver refused chemical testing or was on probation for a prior DUI when he or she was arrested for the subsequent offense.
Alcohol Education Classes & IID
An IID device must be installed by a certified IID technician in California. The DMV can provide a list of approved technicians. After the device is installed, the driver must bring it in for periodic maintenance to ensure the device has not been tampered with. If the driver previously had a restricted license that only allowed driving between home and work and the alcohol education program, installation of an IID will allow travel at any time. Typically, the IID cannot be removed until the driver has completed his or her alcohol education class.
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