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Ignition Interlock Devices

In San Diego and Orange Counties, ignition interlock devices (IID) are being increasingly required of DUI offenders, particularly in cases where the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above 0.15%, following second DUI offenses, or cases involving an accident. The IID is a small breath-analyzing instrument that is installed in a vehicle, connected to the ignition device. The car will not start unless the operator blows an alcohol-free breath sample into the unit. This function is to prevent an intoxicated person from being able to operate the motor vehicle.

How does it work?

If a judge has ordered that an IID be installed as part of your sentencing, it must be professionally installed in each vehicle you own or drive. (Employer-owned vehicles and motorcycles are exempt.) When attempting to use your vehicle, you must blow into the IID, providing a breath sample free of any trace of alcohol. If any alcohol is present, the car will not start and the IID will record a positive test result in its memory. The IID will also require additional breath samples, known as “rolling tests”, periodically while the car is in use. Rolling tests allow enough time for the driver to safely pull over in order to provide a breath sample. If traces of alcohol are detected during a rolling test, the IID will record a failed sample and those results will be communicated to authorities.

The IID is designed to ensure that only the driver of the vehicle is able to provide a breath sample. This is accomplished by requiring that the person assigned an IID uses a specific breath pattern when providing a breath sample. The IID is attached by a cord, which cannot reach to the passenger or back seat area.

It is important to know that if you are assigned an IID following a DUI offense, it is a crime to ask another person to provide a breath sample in place of your own. The IID will also record any attempt to tamper with or disable the device. Technology used in the IID has the ability to eliminate chances of contaminated breath samples by cigarette smoke, perfume, etc. There is no minimum threshold for alcohol presence, and any trace on your breath will register as a positive result, which would include alcohol present from mouthwash or any foods containing small amounts of alcohol. If you do register a positive result for alcohol, the IID will give you an opportunity to retest almost immediately.

Why would the court order an ignition interlock device?

A judge may order the installation of a California IID for any type of violation that is related to driving under the influence, including the following offenses:

- Driving under the influence - VC23152(a)

- Driving or operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% of greater - VC23152(b)

- DUI resulting in injury - VC23153

- Driving while your privilege to drive is suspended or revoked due to a previous DUI conviction – VC14601

Courts have the power to order that an IID be installed in your vehicle for up to 3 years in any case where the judge feels it is appropriate to do so. As a general rule, this occurs only after a first offense DUI when the BAC is above 0.15% or if the person refuses to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test at the time of arrest.

Cost of a California ignition interlock device

Costs of an IID will vary depending on the type of device and the work involved in installing it in your vehicle. On average, the cost of a California IID is about $2.50 per day. You could be charged for installation of the device, which generally costs $75 to $150 when done by an authorized installer. Fees for reporting, maintenance and calibration of your IID are commonly assessed.

The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Ross Law Center can assist you in your legal defense and the repercussions following a DUI arrest. Ross Law Center specializes in DUI and Criminal Defense Law, serving clients in San Diego, Vista, El Cajon, Oceanside, Chula Vista and other San Diego County communities.

Contact our office today at 858-805-5772 for a FREE DUI consultation.


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