California introduced a new law in 2019 related to drunk driving. Effective on January 1st, 2019, the ignition interlock device (IID) program will extend statewide, whereas it was only being tested in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare counties previously.
The new law makes a driver eligible for a restricted driver’s license after installing an IID if their license was previously suspended for driving with an illegal blood alcohol concentration. The new IID program means that first-time DUI offenders can get their license back quickly and get back to school or work more easily.
What Is an IID?
The interlock ignition device is similar to a Breathalyzer because it requires a driver to blow into the device to assess the driver’s blood alcohol concentration; however, the IID is hooked up to the vehicle ignition and requires alcohol-free breath to start the ignition of the vehicle. IIDs also require rolling breath samples every five to fifteen minutes and then again every forty-five minutes.
If a driver fails a breathalyzer test while driving, the IID records the failed test. IIDs usually have cameras installed as well to ensure the driver is the one blowing into the Breathalyzer and not someone else. IIDs have been known to successfully prevent drunk driving.
Charges Requiring IIDs in California
Most drunk driving convictions in California will now require an IID installation if a driver wants to get their suspended license back. For a first offense DUI, drivers must have an IID for six months. For a second-offense DUI, drivers must have an IID for one year. For a third-offense DUI, drivers must have an IID for two years. For fourth or subsequent DUI charges, drivers must have an IID for three years.
Cost of IID
Drivers must pay for the cost and maintenance of the IID. An IID can cost around $60 to $80 per month in maintenance, because the device may need calibration and monthly servicing. Drivers who can’t afford the maintenance costs may be able to get financial assistance.
Most drivers will be grateful for the new California IID program even with the associated costs because having an IID installed allows drivers with DUI convictions to get back their driving privileges much earlier than they originally would have. Restricted licenses only prevent charged individuals from getting back to their normal lives. Without a license, citizens may feel hindered when trying to succeed.