DUI Ignition Interlock Device and Rules Surrounding It
California lawmakers take drunk driving and driving while under the influence seriously. With the introduction of the Ignition Interlock Device or IID, residents who have been charged with a DWI or DUI can retain their driving rights under specific conditions. The convenience of the device allows the defendant to operate their vehicle as long as they pass a breathalyzer test administered through the IID.
What Is An IID or Ignition Interlock Device?
An Ignition Interlock Device is a small component that is wired into the ignition system of a person's vehicle. In order for the vehicle to start, the driver must blow into the mechanism and have their breath tested for the presence of alcohol. If no alcohol is present the ignition will engage and the vehicle will start. If alcohol does present itself, the vehicle will not start. An IID blocks the action of the ignition and cannot be bypassed without damaging the steering column.
What Can It Do?
The intended use of an IID is to keep drunk drivers off the road. In most cases, an IID can be effectively used to reduce the chances of drunk driving as long as an effective service and monitoring system remain in place. Statistics show anywhere from 40 to 95% reduction in the number of repeat offenses as long as the IID is in use. An IID is extremely effective as long as the person and system itself is closely monitored. To be effective it must be properly installed and calibrated to meet the requirements put in place by the court or the DMV.
Who Can Order It?
The court as well as the DMV can order the use of an IID. Both require specific forms to be filled out and returned proving that the Ignition Interlock Device was put in place by a licensed and authorized installer. When the court orders an IID to be installed in the vehicle of a defendant, the DMV is subsequently notified. The DMV will then place a restriction on the person's drivers' license that notifies the police that the IID is in place if the person is stopped for a traffic violation. While the IID can help reduce the chances of drunk driving, its use must be carefully monitored by both the court and the DMV to be effective.
What Are The Benefits of An IID?
Ignition Interlock Devices offer many benefits to both the driver of the vehicle and the public at large. Not only does it reduce the instances of repeating a drunk driving arrest, it offers the court and the DMV a viable and reliable record to prove that the defendant was not impaired when he drove the vehicle.
There are cases, where the IID was ordered by the court, in which the DMV agreed to reduce the amount of time defendant's license would be suspended if the defendant remained in strict compliance. If the defendant agrees to have the IID installed and pays all of the fees and costs in a timely fashion, the DMV, in some cases, will actually reinstate a person's driver's license for the duration of the IID program. If the person fails to comply with a court order to have an IID installed in their vehicle, the DMV can suspend or revoke their driving privileges until they have the device put in place.
Another major benefit of voluntarily complying with the court and DMV's request to have an IID installed is the reinstatement of a person's auto insurance. If the program is completed and the defendant is found to be in complete compliance with the court's order, the insurance company may also offer a discounted rate.
Keep in mind, however, that if the IID is ordered after a second drunk driving arrest, there will be fewer benefits and more restrictions.
IID pilot programs began in California in 2010. Since that time, there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of repeat drunk driving arrests. Pilot programs were initiated in Los Angeles, Alameda, Tulare and Sacramento Counties. After a drunk driving arrest, a person's driver's license would not be reissued or reinstated until the person had complied with the court ordered installation of IID's on all of the vehicles licensed in their name.
During the pilot program, individuals who were arrested for drunk driving in each of the original four counties were required to have the IID's installed in their vehicles. The number of previous arrests for DWI or DUI charges would determine how long the device would remain in place. The average range was anywhere from 5 to 48 months, as long as the driver complied with all of the requirements of the court. In some cases, an exemption may be allowed for individuals who qualify.
Costs and Fees
The costs and fees associated with the installation of an IID will vary from county to county. Depending on the calibration and monitoring requirements, the length of time the device is to be in place and the number of vehicles that are required to have the device will all determine the overall cost of the program for each individual. In the majority of cases, the defendant will be ordered to pay all of the costs and fees of the IID program. If they refuse to pay or do not comply with the order from the court of the DMV, the DMV has the right to suspend the person's driver's license until all fees and costs are paid.