Effective July 1, 2010, a new California DUI law, SB 598, if implemented, will allow those drunk drivers who are convicted of a second or third driving under the influence (DUI) offense to get a restricted license earlier than under the old law, if these offenders:
- Install ignition interlock devices (IIDs) on their vehicles (at their expense), and;
- Pay a fee sufficient to cover the Department of Motor Vehicle's (DMV's) costs to administer the program.
An IID does not permit the vehicle to start unless the driver (with no alcohol on his or her breath) first blows into it. The amount of time the devices are kept on the car depends on the number of DUI convictions a driver has had.
The new law requires the DMV to advise second- and third-time, misdemeanor DUI offenders that they have a new option, instead of receiving a suspended license. Offenders may obtain a restricted license if:
- the offender enrolls in a DUI program;
- installs and maintains an IID in any vehicle they drive, and
- serves a 90-day suspension period for a second conviction of misdemeanor DUI, or a six month suspension period for a third conviction of misdemeanor DUI. This option only applies if the offense involved alcohol intoxication only, and other intoxicants were not involved.
Unlike a suspended license (which prohibits driving entirely), a restricted license allows a person to drive to and from work, and to and from a court-ordered DUI program.
The purpose behind the bill is to increase use of IIDs among hardcore drunk drivers. The legislature is hopeful that this measure will lead to behavior change and fewer incidents of drunk driving.
Currently, second offenders lose their license for two years and are not eligible to apply for a restricted license until at least one year has passed, and they have completed 12 months of the 18-month alcohol program.
Third-time offenders currently face 3 years revocation.
Comparison of New and Old DUI Law
The new statute shortens the time before a second offender can get a restricted license to 90 days, instead of 1 year and partial completion of an alcohol program.
The new law also allows a third-time DUI offender to obtain a restricted license after 6 months, assuming the offender complies with the new law's requirements.
The cost of new and renewed driver's license will rise from $28 to $31; a duplicate will now cost $25 and an identification card will cost $24. These are just a couple of the new fee increases going into effect in 2010.
SB598 requires a non-state source of funding in order to be implemented. If there is no non-state source of funding, then the new DUI law will not be implemented, and drunk drivers will be subject to existing law.
If you are convicted of drunk driving, you should contact an experienced attorney at White Goldstein to determine which California DUI laws apply to your legal situation, and how we can help.