NEW LAW WILL REQUIRE IGNITION INTERLOCKING DEVICES FOR MOST DUI OFFENSES
A new law, scheduled to go into effect across the state on January 1, 2019, will put ignition interlock devices (IID) in almost every vehicle driven by someone who was convicted of drunk driving. IIDs are akin to a breathalyzer installed in a vehicle. The devices include a small camera that shows who is blowing into it and have other mechanisms that prevent the driver from any attempts to defeat the device. They are, in fact, pretty much fool-proof.
The new law is, in one way, less restrictive because it will give first time DUI offenders, who caused no injuries by his or her drunken driving, an option of installing an IID for six months with full driving privileges. As the law stands now, a first time (non-injury) DUI offender can only drive on a restricted license usually for a period 4 to 6 months. With the new law, if a person declines the IID, he or she will be subject to a one-year restricted license. .A restricted license allows the driver to only drive to and from work or school and to DUI-ordered treatment programs.
The new law will require many DUI offenders to install the IID; they will not have a choice. Those offenders include first time DUI offenders who caused an injury by his or her drunken driving, in which case the IID must be installed for six months. A second DUI offense (within ten years) will require the installation of the device for one year, a third DUI requires the device be installed for two years, and a fourth DUI requires installation for three years.
When a DUI offender is ordered to install an IID, he or she also must pay for it. That doesn’t come cheap! They cost up to $80 per month to operate and there are installation fees and calibration fees as well. The new bill will provide financial assistance to those who are ordered to install an IID but cannot afford the expense.
Since 2010, four counties in California have run a pilot IID program for drunk driving. It is estimated that the IIDs stopped approximately 125,000 attempts by offenders to drive with a blood alcohol content over .08%. But what is really amazing is that the DMV estimates that IIDs are 74% more effective a preventing repeat drunken driving than are license suspensions. It is easy, especially with the foggy thinking that alcohol induces, for a driver to get in his or her car and drive drunk even though his or her license is suspended for just that. It is much harder to get in the car and defeat the IID device.
The new law is targeted at those who would repeat the offense of drunk driving. It is hoped that the device will decrease the incidents of those repeat offenders from repeating the crime of drunk driving again. I believe many repeat DUI offenders suffer from an addiction that is not easily remedied and I can only hope that the lengthy term mandated for installation of these devices on repeat offenders’ vehicles will encourage those offenders to seek real help.
William Weinberg is an attorney with over 20 years experience defending DUI cases. He is available to speak with you about your particular DUI matter by contacting him at his Irvine office at 949-474-8008 or emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.