Ignition Interlock Device

An Ignition Interlock Device (referred to as IID) is a small instrument that is usually on-board of a vehicle dashboard that prevents the driver from operating the vehicle unless he or she is alcohol-free. IIDs are typically common as a California DUI penalty. An IID can significantly affect your liberty to drive a car since there are a lot of other restrictions that follow along with their mandatory installation. Therefore, one should find a professional attorney to intervene to avoid going through this kind of requirement while arrested with a DUI offense. The Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney team is ready to help. However, it is necessary to learn a few things about the device to be sure of what your attorney will do. Read through this article to learn more about the Ignition Interlock Device.

Explanation of an Ignition Interlock Device and How it Works

As explained above, an Ignition Interlock Device is a mini-breathalyzer about the size of a cell phone installed on the dashboard of a vehicle. A judge orders a car owner to install the device as part of a California DUI probation. The judge requires the IID to be installed professionally and have the device installed in the vehicle that you regularly drive. Vehicles that are owned by employees and motorcycles are exempted from the requirement.

Anyone who has the device installed in his or her vehicle must blow it and provide an alcohol-free breath sample for the car to start. If you fail to blow the device, the car will not start. Also, if the BAC results records above 0.04%, the car will not start. After you have started driving, the device will ask for samples between five to fifteen minutes and, after a while, starts asking for samples every forty-five minutes. This is to ensure that you remain sober all through your driving.

The instrument usually asks for a rolling sample, which allows six minutes to take the sample. The six minutes are plenty enough for a driver to pull off when he or she feels that it is not comfortable enough to give the samples while driving. If you fail to pass the test, it does not mean that your car disables, but the results register as a "fail "on your log that is reported to the court.

In California, the IID has the design to ensure that only the driver can manage to provide his or her breath sample. Such requirements are accomplished by:

  • Providing a short cord that cannot reach a passenger sitting in the back seat
  • Requiring a specific breath pattern when providing the samples
  • The requirement of random samples while one is driving
  • Making it fraud when one asks another person to provide samples on his or her behalf

You should also note that California IIDs have made remarkable progress and can detect and record:

  • Attempts to disconnect or tamper with the device
  • When the engine stops and starts
  • All results of the breath samples provided

A California IID requires the driver to service it at least after every sixty days once he or she has installed it.

Factors that Can Lead to a Failed Test Despite Not Drinking

IIDs are very sensitive to any form of alcohol, meaning that it is not limited to alcoholic beverages. Therefore, before you take the test, it is recommended that you take a swish of water to remove any food residue or particles that might have alcoholic elements. You should also avoid eating or taking several things while you have an Ignition Interlock Device installed in your vehicle. Some of the things to avoid are:

  • Cough syrup
  • Mouthwash
  • Vanilla extract
  • Food with alcohol, such as pasta with vodka sauce and rum cake
  • Energy drinks with a high alcohol content

The Cost of Installing an IID

In California, the cost of installing an IID costs between $75 to $150 to have it installed professionally. However, according to an IID pilot program law under Vehicle Code, 23700 VC defendants who cannot afford to install a mandatory IID can get up to 50% assistance from the program.

There is also a recurring fee that occurs, which is about $50 for every time the device gets calibrated. Remember, these fees apply to each vehicle that you own if you have several options at your disposal. Finally, the Department of Motor Vehicles requires a $55 payment for the device.

Convictions that Lead to Installation of Ignition Interlock Device in California

All DUI offenses are eligible for a sentence that requires one to install the Ignition Interlock Device. However, particular violations do not have a mandatory requirement to install the device while others expect the driver to install the device. Offenses that the judge might require one to install the device include:

  • A first offense under Vehicle Code 23152(a) DUI, especially when the defendant had a BAC of 0.015% or higher
  • A first offense that the defendant did not submit to a breath or chemical test
  • An offense under the Vehicle Code 14601 that requires suspension of the DUI convict driver's license
  • A first offense under Vehicle Code 23152(b) that involves an offender who was driving with a BAC content of 0.08% or higher

Offenses that the judge requires mandatory installation of the device includes:

  • Repeated DUI offenses
  • DUI under Vehicle Code 23153 that caused injuries to the victims

First- Time DUI Conviction

The required period that a first time DUI offender has to install the IID is six months. However, if the defendant does not get a court conviction, he or she might be required to install for four months if the DMV finds him or her liable for the installation.

Repeat DUI Offenses

Under California law, the judge might require a driver to install a California IID for a specific period as follows:

  • One year if convicted with a second DUI offense
  • Two years if convicted with a third DUI offense
  • Three years if convicted with a fourth or subsequent offense

If you get convicted with a second DUI offense that caused an injury, you must install the IID for two years if it is a second offense and three years if it is a third-time DUI offense.

If one does not get a DUI court conviction, the mandatory period for installing the device is one year despite being the second or third conviction.

Mandatory Installation of the IID under VC 14601

Under VC 14601, the offender ought to have committed an offense of driving with a suspended license. The suspension or revocation should be as a result of a DUI conviction to meet the eligibility of the mandatory installation of the device.

Based on the sort of violation made by the offender and the number of prior offenses that the offender could have made, the judge might instruct a mandatory installation of the IID for one to three years.

IID Installation Provided as Conditions for a Restricted License

For those who are facing a repeat DUI conviction and wish to obtain a restricted driver's license during a plea bargain, the California DMV might require them to install an IID as well. A restricted driver's license limits the defendant to drive to and from a court-ordered DUI program, work, or school.

As of 1st January 2019, judges acquired the mandate to willingly allow the DUI defendant to drive anywhere as long as the IID is installed in the vehicle for the predetermined period.

Terms of Installing an Ignition Interlock Device in California

If a judge requires you to install an IID, you are expected to consider the following:

  • Provide the DMV with a verification of the IID
  • Serve the specified suspension duration in full
  • Pay $45 administrative fee
  • Pay any installation fee that you might be required to pay
  • Provide a California Insurance Proof Certificate ( SR-22)
  • Install the device in all your vehicles except your motorcycle
  • Provide proof of enrollment or partial completion of an eighteen or thirty months of DUI school

Causes for Violating an Ignition Interlock Device Program

Once A California driver has installed an IID in his or her vehicle, there are some basic rules and regulations that one should follow. Failing to observe these requirements might lead to revocation or re-suspension. Also, violating any conditions provided for an IID installation might make the judge conclude that you violated the terms of the probation and decide on a jail conviction.

Four typical areas can make a driver violate the terms of IID. They are as follows:

1. Tampering with the IID

Any attempt to disconnect, bypass, or manipulate the IID will automatically register as a violation with the service provider. The service provider has the mandate to report any attempt of an IID violation to the California DMV. Such violation will lead to the automatic revocation of the driver's privilege to use the IID.

2. Failing to Take or Missing a Rolling Test

If a driver has an IID Installed in his or her vehicle, he or she should provide an alcohol-free breath sample to start the engine of the car. As soon as the engine starts, one should deliver re-tests within the specified timeline to ensure that the driver has remained alcohol-free. Missing to take the retest twice during a single reporting period will result in an IID violation.

3. Blowing with a BAC of 0.05% or Higher

Attempting to blow the IID with a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.05% or higher will lead to an automatic violation. The IID locks and the vehicle cannot start. Soon after such a scenario happens, the violator should report to the service provider within 48 hours. If the violator does not report, the service provider will be required to tow the vehicle to its garage at the expense of the violator. Such a violation can lead to a driver's license suspension for ten years, depending on the kind of DUI offense that one committed.

4. Failure to Keep Pay Fees or Keep Up with Monthly Appointments

Over the period that the Ignition Interlock Device is in your vehicle, you must attend regular appointments with the service provider to calibrate and maintain the device. Failing to report to the service agency or paying the monthly appointment fee will lead to a violation.

Finding a Court-approved IID Installer

The court requires a driver with the instruction to install the ignition interlock device to go to an authorized dealer. There are a couple of private companies approved by the court that one can rely on. To find a list of these companies, you can contact the DMV offices or visit their field offices.

Possibility of "False Positive "Results

There are chances of registering a false positive result even though you did not tamper with the Ignition Interlock Device. Most IIDs depend on fuel cell technology and can respond to any alcohol, which might lead to a "false positive" result. For instance, if the device contacts cigarette smoke, perfume, and gasoline, there are chances of recording the false result.

Also, the alcohol content found in mouth care products can tamper with the results. However, since there is a chance of taking a rolling test, you can avoid the false result by rinsing your mouth before taking the next test.

Legal Defenses for Ignition Interlock Device Convictions

Defending yourself against IID conviction typically involves any legal defenses related to DUI. This is because the requirement to install the device falls under DUI offenses. Therefore, your attorney should consider relevant DUI legal defenses to defend you against a possible condition to install the Ignition Interlock Device. Some of the legal defenses that your attorney can adopt are:

 1. Claim that the Objective Symptoms Presented by the DUI officer was not Objective

If your DUI officer stopped you for DUI suspicion due to objective symptoms, you could use such an instance to come up with a legal defense. The fact that you portrayed symptoms such as red eyes, slurred speech, and lack of balance does not entirely mean that you were drunk. Tiredness and medication can lead to such signs and can be mistaken for drunkenness.

2. Unreliable Field Sobriety Test ( FST) Results

A DUI officer is mandated to conduct a Field Sobriety Test once he or she apprehends a DUI suspect. However, FTS results have not always been 100% reliable and can be challenged in a court trial. Some of the claims you can use in your legal defense include unreliable tests and wrongful administration of the tests.

3. Claim that You had a Rising BAC

Typically, alcohol takes 45 minutes to 3 hours to rise in the blood. Therefore, if you get apprehended as soon as you stopped drinking and took too long to have the test, the condition would be that you were not driving with a BAC within or above the recommended BAC. Also, if you were apprehended close to your home, you can use such an instance as your legal defense, as well.

4. False BAC Reading

There are quite a lot of factors that can lead to false BAC reading. For instance, residue alcohol usually found in the mouth after an alcoholic beverage might record a higher BAC level than usual. Also, medical conditions such as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), acid reflux, and heartburn can easily explain a high BAC. Other aspects that can lead to a false BAC reading include a prescribed medication and a faulty breathalyzer.

5. Claim that the DUI Officer Violated Your Constitutional Rights

The U.S constitution protects all Americans from violations of their rights. If a police officer fails to read out the Miranda rights before interrogating you, you have an entitlement to dismissal of your DUI charges.

 Note, the legal defense used by the attorney should be relevant to the circumstances surrounding your arrest to be successful. Also, not all legal defenses will work in a probable requirement to install the IID during a sentence. For instance, it is mandatory for a driver who caused injuries through DUI to install the device. Therefore, in such a case, it is recommended to focus on other punishments that have significant implications rather than focusing on avoiding IID installation. Acquiring a mandatory IID installation is leeway to significant sentences that result from such an offense.

Related Offenses to Ignition Interlock Device Installation

There are specific DUI offenses that have a close relationship to the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device. Their penalties might involve a requirement of installing the device or other penalties. Some of the related offenses include:

Refusal to Submit or Complete a Chemical or Breath Test

A DUI officer has a mandatory right to request for a chemical test to any suspect. If the driver fails to submit to the breath test or chemical test, he or she risks a thirty-day suspension of the driver's license by the DMV. Upon conviction of a DUI offense, the driver risks driver's suspension for one to three years. Along with the license suspension, the court might order one to install an IID for six months up to three years. However, if the court does not order for installation of the device, the driver can apply for the sentence as follows:

  • Six months of installation for a first-time offense. However, if the driver had a BAC of 0.20 or more, he or she is restricted to ten months. In this case, the driver will get the full privilege to drive the vehicle. Alternatively, you can apply for restricted driving for 12 months but with limited driving privileges.
  • For a second offense, the driver has the option of applying for an Ignition Interlock Device Restricted License for a year with full driving privileges. Alternatively, one can apply for a mandatory one-year license suspension without driving privileges before applying for a restricted license for a year.
  • For a third offense, the driver can apply for an Ignition Interlock Device for two years with full driving privileges.
  • For a fourth or subsequent offense, the driver can apply for the Ignition Interlock Device for three years with full driving privileges.

For the driver to apply for these sentences, he or she must obtain and show proof of SR22 insurance and enrollment in a state-approved DUI program.

Wet Reckless Driving Offense

Another offense that relates to the installation of an IID is wet recklessness. This is not an offense that can be charged in a court but can be achieved through a plea bargain. A plea bargain for wet recklessness is not applicable in all offenses, but there are high chances in a first DUI offense. The idea behind this kind of plea bargain is to avoid mandatory jail time, license suspension, and more substantial fines. The DMV temporary suspends the driver's license for thirty days after the DUI arrests. If the DMV concludes that at you cannot reinstate your license after the temporary suspension, you have the option to: 

  • Immediately install the Ignition Interlock Device for four months and retain your driving privileges for a first offense. Alternatively, you can serve the thirty-day mandatory suspension without driving privileges and apply for a restricted driver's license for five months
  • For second and subsequent offenses, the driver gets convicted with a year suspension of the DMV license but can install the IID immediately to regain full driving privileges.

In all these scenarios, you must provide proof of enrollment to a state-approved DUI program and SR22 insurance forms.

Hire a Los Angeles DUI Attorney Near Me

There are a lot of complexities involved in a DUI offense. Handling such issues all by yourself can be hard since there are a lot of legal aspects that you probably are not aware of. Therefore, it is recommended to seek professional legal intervention to have your case handled accordingly. Note that not all attorneys are a good fit, and some cannot deliver as expected. That's why you need to find professional attorneys such as The Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney if you are living in Los Angeles. We guarantee excellent services and respond quickly to our clients and have maintained excellent services for many years. Contact us today at 408-777-6630 to consult one of our attorneys today.


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