What is an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)?
An IID is larger than a cell phone and is wired to your vehicle's ignition. The IID can be installed in a vehicle while you wait and after installation, it requires your breath sample before the engine will start. If the IID detects alcohol on your breath, the engine will not start. As you drive, you are periodically required to provide breath samples to ensure the continued absence of alcohol in your system.
Where can I get an IID installed? There are many providers; Alcotest, Lifesaver, smartstart, lowcostinterlock, intoxalock.
Can IIDs Prevent Drunk Driving?
Yes. The International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety maintains that IIDs, when combined with a comprehensive monitoring and service program, lead to a 40-95% reduction in the rate of repeat drunk driving offenses among offenders as long as the IID remains on the vehicle.
Court-Ordered IID Restriction
When the court orders the use of an IID, you must have one installed by an authorized installer and provide proof of the installation to the court. The court has special forms and procedures to monitor drivers ordered to have an IID device installed. After the court notifies the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), DMV marks your driving record so law enforcement officers are aware of the IID requirement if you are stopped. DMV will also place a restriction on your driver license. If you fail to comply with a court-ordered IID restriction, the court will notify DMV and your driving privilege may be suspended until you comply with the court order.
DMV-Ordered IID Restriction
DMV is required to impose an IID restriction on the driving privilege of a person convicted of driving with a suspended or revoked license for a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction (California Vehicle Code (CVC) §§14601.2, 14601.4, or 14601.5).
This restriction does not allow a person to drive without a valid driver license.
The driver must submit either the Department of Motor Vehicles Ordered Verification of Ignition Interlock (DL 924) form or the Exemption for Ignition Interlock Device (DL 4054B) form to the DMV within 30 days from the mail date of the Order of Installment of an Ignition Interlock Device (DL 4054A) form.
Shortened Driver License Suspension/Revocation - Optional DMV IID
If you have been convicted of a second or subsequent DUI violation and have completed at least one year of your DUI suspension/revocation you may qualify for a restricted driver license if you meet these requirements:
Install an IID on your vehicle and provide DMV with a "Verification of Installation" Ignition Interlock (DL 920) form.
Clear all other outstanding suspensions/revocations on your driving record.
Comply with a DUI program's requirements and have the program provider submit either a Proof of Enrollment Certificate (DL 107) or Notice of Completion Certificate (DL 101) form to DMV (whichever applies to your case).
Submit an Insurance Proof Certificate (SR 22) form issued by your auto insurance company to DMV establishing proof of financial responsibility.
Pay all required fees, including the $15 IID restriction fee.
Effective July 1, 2010, legislation allows a shorter suspension/revocation period for a second or third DUI offender who installs an IID and receives an IID restricted license after a mandatory suspension/revocation period, if the most recent violation of CVC §23152 occurred on or after July 1, 2010, and did not involve the use of drugs.
Second DUI Offenders - whose violation involved alcohol only may reinstate after a 90-day suspension with proof of enrollment in a DUI program.
Third DUI Offenders - whose violation involved alcohol only may reinstate after a 6-month revocation with proof of enrollment in an 18- or 30-month DUI program.
In addition, they will need a DL 920, SR 22, and all required fees.
Effective January 1, 2012, individuals convicted of a "wet reckless" offense under CVC §23103 as a substitute for a DUI conviction can opt to end their 1-year administrative per se (APS) suspension after 90 days and apply for an IID-restricted driver license by providing a:
Verification of Installation (DL 920) form.
Proof of Enrollment Certificate (DL 107) or Notice of Completion Certificate (DL 101) form for an approved 9-month (or longer) alcohol treatment program.
Insurance Proof Certificate (SR 22).
$40 administrative service fee (ASF), $15 optional restriction fee, and all required reissue fees.
In addition, offenders with three or more DUI convictions who are revoked under CVC §23597 may be eligible for early reinstatement with an IID restricted driver license after they have served five years of the revocation period. To be eligible for early reinstatement, individuals must have no alcohol or drug offenses during their revocation period and must provide a Notice of Completion Certificate (DL 101) form for an 18-or 30-month DUI program and Verification of Installation Ignition Interlock (DL 920) form.
All required forms and fees may be submitted to any local Department of Motor Vehicles office or mailed to: DMV, Mail Station J233, P.O. Box 942890, Sacramento, CA 94290-0001.
NOTE: Call DMV at (916) 657-6525 for assistance with determining eligibility or locating an IID provider.
Ignition Interlock Device Pilot Program
Effective July 1, 2010, legislation requires DMV to conduct an IID pilot program. The program requires all persons convicted of a (DUI) under CVC §§23152 or 23153, or CaliforniaPenal Code (CPC) §191.5(b), in one of the four pilot counties (Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare) to install a certified IID on each vehicle that he/she owns or operates. Before a driver license can be issued, reissued, reinstated, or restricted, pilot participants must meet all DUI reinstatement requirements, submit a DMV Ordered Verification of Ignition Interlock (DL 924) form and pay a $45 administrative service fee (ASF). The term that an IID restriction is required ranges from 5 to 48 months, depending upon the number of prior DUI convictions.Penal Code (PC) §191.5(b), in one of the four pilot counties (Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare) to install a certified IID on each vehicle that he/she owns or operates.
The requirement for participation in the pilot program is determined by the county in which the violation occurred; not the residence of the driver. Individuals who do not own or have access to a vehicle can request an exemption from the IID installation, by completing and returning the Exemption for IID (DL 4055B) form within 30 days of receiving notice from DMV regarding the IID requirement.
Individuals who qualify for an exemption are not required to provide proof of IID installation. However, the IID restriction will still be imposed for the required term. The driver acknowledges this restriction by submitting the exemption request that he/she can only operate a vehicle equipped with an IID.
You may access a list of IID manufacturers at the website below:
Check the License of an IID Installer
All IID installation facilities doing business in California are required to have a valid license issued by the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), which is part of the Department of Consumer Affairs. To ensure that an IID installer is properly licensed you may access the BAR website using the link below:
IID Calibration and Monitoring
Once installed in your vehicle, the IID must be calibrated and inspected by a certified installer at intervals not to exceed 60 days. The installers make sure the device is working properly and that no violations have been logged. Drivers who do not comply with IID requirements are reported to the court or to the DMV (whichever applies) and may have their driving privilege suspended or revoked.
If a person with an optional DMV IID or court-IID restriction attempts to remove, tamper with, bypass, or fails three or more times to comply with any requirement for the maintenance or calibration of the IID, the DMV will immediately suspend or revoke the person's driving privilege for the remaining period of the original suspension or revocation, and until all reinstatement requirements are met.
Installation and Monitoring Fees
IID installation and monitoring fees vary among companies and may depend on your location. Call the IID manufacturers for price quotes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can someone use a balloon or other air source to mimic human breath?
A: No. The devices currently available have anti-circumvention techniques, which cause the IID to abort phony breath samples.
Q: Can a person with an IID restriction have someone else take the breath test for the driver to start the vehicle?
A: Not legally, CVC §23247 makes it unlawful for another person to blow into an IID or to start a motor vehicle equipped with an IID to provide an operable motor vehicle to a person whose driving privilege is restricted. If the car was started illegally, the person who started it or another sober individual would have to ride in the vehicle because the device will randomly ask for a "running retest." If a test is not taken or if the test is failed, the device will log a violation. With some devices, the horn will honk until the vehicle is turned off. California law imposes fines and/or jail for individuals assisting in the circumvention of the IID.
Q: Will the IID lose all memory if the battery is disconnected?
A: No. The device has a back-up lithium battery to protect the data log's memory.
Q: If a driver gets stranded and thinks the IID unit is causing the problem, is there anything he/she can do?
A: Some devices can self-diagnose problems. The driver will be able to confirm the unit is having problems by the condition of the service light. The driver can also call an IID service provider to help determine if the device requires service.
Q: Can a participant leave his/her car running outside of a bar, while drinking inside, and then drive away?
A: No. The device randomly asks for breath tests while the vehicle is running and if a sample is not given when requested, the device logs a violation. With some devices, the horn also honks until the vehicle is shut off.
Q: What happens if the driver forgets his/her service appointment?
A: The device will prompt the driver. For example, a device may flash or a light may stay on and a tone will sound if it needs service. If the IID is not serviced, the IID will enter a lockout condition and the driver will not be able to operate the vehicle. The vehicle would have to be towed to the service center or the service center technician would have to perform a remote service.
Q: What if the driver is taking a medication with an alcohol base?
A: Alcohol is alcohol. If the driver's blood alcohol concentration, as measured in the breath, is over the preset level, the driver will not be allowed to start the vehicle. During the training session, drivers are particularly cautioned about common substances that contain alcohol and the use of mouthwash.
Q: What if the driver uses mouthwash in the morning and the mouthwash has an alcohol base?
A: Again, alcohol is alcohol. If the driver does not allow sufficient time for the alcohol to dissipate from his/her mouth, a FAIL will be registered in the memory.
Q: What happens when a driver fails the breath test?
A: The IID will enter a short lockout period of a few minutes for the first failed breath alcohol test and a longer lockout for any subsequent failed breath alcohol test. This permits an opportunity for the alcohol to dissipate from the mouth and for the driver to consider the reason for the failed breath alcohol test.
Q: Can others besides the participating driver drive the IID-equipped vehicle?
A: Yes. However, any intended driver must take and pass a breath test in order to start the vehicle. All other possible drivers should be trained on the operation of the device. The person with the IID restriction is responsible for all readings recorded by the device.
Q: What happens when the IID-equipped vehicle needs repair?
A: The driver needs to contact the IID service provider before having repairs conducted on his/her vehicle in case the repair shop has questions about the IID. Documentation must be provided if the power to the vehicle is interrupted as the device will record the power disconnect and the reconnect.
Q: If the IID malfunctions, will it shut the vehicle off?
A: No. The IID has no means of interrupting vehicle operation once started.
Q: What happens if the vehicle stalls in traffic?
A: The IID permits the driver to restart the vehicle without having to conduct another breath sample, but a breath sample will be requested shortly after restarting.
Q: What happens if the driver is out of California and experiences problems with his/her IID unit?
A: Most states currently have IID programs with service centers to assist them. Drivers are instructed to contact the primary service center to be routed to the closest IID service center for assistance.
Q: Will installation of the IID damage the vehicle?
A: No. The IID is only connected to the wiring under the dash and under the hood. At the end of the program, this wiring is restored to pre-IID installation conditions.
Q: Will the requirements to take a "running retest" cause the driver to take his/her eyes off the road creating a hazardous situation?
A: No. When the IID signals for a retest, the driver has a few minutes to provide the sample or to pull over to the side of the road in a safe area to provide the breath sample. There are no buttons to push; the driver must only breathe into the device to complete a breath sample. This is much simpler than using a cellular telephone or tuning a state-of-the-art car stereo.
Q: How often does the device need a calibration check?
A: Typically, every 60 days.
Q: Can the device be tampered with by computer?
A: No. Proprietary software and a special interface connection are needed to communicate with the device.
There are two types of suspensions that can result from a DUI in California.
Administrative – from the DMV, immediately at the time of your arrest if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of is .08 or more (.01% if you are under 21, or if you refuse a chemical test). Your license is confiscated and you are given a temporary 30-day license in order to get your affairs in order before your trial. If your trial is set for more than 30 days after your arrest, do not drive after the 30-day period.
From the criminal court. This occurs when you are sentenced by a court after a trial or plea agreement.
If you are convicted of a DUI in a criminal court in Los Angeles, Alameda, Tulare or Sacramento Counties, an ignition interlock device (IID) will be required on any vehicle you own or operate. In other counties it may be required depending on the court’s discretion. The period of restriction and the period of suspension before you can drive with an interlock vary depending on how many previous DUI convictions you have.
In California, a DUI can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Most first, second, and third drunk-driving arrests are charged as misdemeanors, which generally carry lighter penalties. You might be charged with a felony DUI if you are involved in an accident, particularly if you kill or injure another person, or if you are arrested for a fourth DUI within 10 years.
If you have been charged with a DUI in California, one of the requirements of the court or of the California DMV, may be for you to have an ignition interlock device installed onto your automobile. An ignition interlock device is a breath-alcohol testing device, about the size of a cellular telephone, that is installed on the steering column of your car. Currently, California ignition interlock laws do not allow for the installation of the devices onto motorcycles due to safety concerns. The ignition interlock system will prevent the car from being started unless the driver blows into the ignition interlock device to demonstrate that he or she is below .029 percent BAC.
Navigating the DUI process can be quite an ordeal. Many individuals want to put the memory of their arrest and subsequent legal worries behind them as soon as possible. A California court order for an ignition interlock device, however, does not make this immediately possible. Smart Start of California can help. Our California ignition interlock installation specialists can help fulfill your requirements to the court and get you back on the road without delay. Contact us today at 1-888-289-5669 for more information on how we can help you.
Ignition Interlock Devices are designed to insure that the operator of the vehicle they are installed on is not under the influence of alcohol when they start or operate the automobile. It is very hard to ‘fool’ the device, as there are several safeguards to ensure that someone other than the driver does not allow a person to bypass the device:
First, it is a crime for anyone who has an ignition interlock device installed in their car to have someone else blow into it for them. The consequences of doing so could include a misdemeanor criminal conviction. It is also rather unlikely that a sober person would assist someone with alcohol in their system in bypassing an ignition interlock device.
Next, the ignition interlock device requires a particular breath pattern. It is not as simple as just blowing into the ignition interlock collection tube; the driver must exhale in a particular manner, and this requires a bit of training. Smart Start of California provides this training to people in need of an ignition interlock system. But it would be nearly impossible for someone without that particular training to get a car equipped with a Smart Start ignition interlock device otherwise.
Next, there are rolling retests. This means that the machine will require the driver to provide breath tests at random intervals while driving. These rolling retest may occur as quickly as 15 minutes, or as long as an hour after the ignition interlock device initially allowed the car to start. If the rolling rests is not successfully completed, or not taken at all, the computer device will record this and it will result in a violation for that calibration period.
Patrick J. Silva - Attorney at Law
A Professional Law Corporation
Arrested for DUI? Find Out What Everyone Should Know Before Talking to the Judge, Hiring an Attorney, Pleading Guilty or Going to Trial.
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