On July 1, 2010, a new “Ignition Interlock Device” law went into effect in California affecting only those California drivers who are convicted of a first-time offense for a DUI in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Alameda and Tulare Counties. No other county in California is mandated by law to impose such a costly and burdensome restriction on their drivers.
This new law was passed pursuant to California Assembly bill (“AB”) 96 as part of a “pilot project” approved by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The law requires first-time DUI offenders in these counties to install the Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in any vehicle they drive as a condition of getting a restricted driver's license. These first-time DUI offenders will be required to have the IID installed in their vehicle for a period of five months. If the first-time DUI offender also injured someone as a result of driving drunk in Los Angeles or one of the other specified counties, the mandatory installation period is one year. Additional DUI penalties for first-time DUI offenders include three to five years of probation, three to nine-month alcohol program, mandatory fines and fees and possible additional consequences depending on the specific facts of the case and the county where the DUI offense occurred.
Ignition interlock devices are machines that require driver's to test their blood alcohol content (BAC) by blowing into the device before their vehicle can be started. The driver is responsible for paying for the installation of the IID and must pay monthly fees to have the machine checked and calibrated for accuracy. In California, if the driver's BAC level is .03% or higher, the device will prevent the car from starting. In California, however, the law prohibits a person from driving with a BAC of .01% or higher if that person is on probation for a DUI conviction. The DUI penalties and consequences for second offenders for driving with a BAC of .01% or greater while on probation include a conviction for a second DUI offense, jail of ninety six hours (mandatory minimum) up to one year, license suspension for two years, mandatory interlock device for at least one year in order to get a restricted driver's license, three to five years of probation, expensive fines and fees, rigorous alcohol programs and more.
The effectiveness of this pilot program will be studied for the next five years, until 2015. At that time, the legislature will decide whether the program should be expanded to all counties in California.
The implications of this new law are profound and arguably fundamentally unfair. If you have been arrested for DUI in Los Angeles county or for driving under the influence in Southern California, contact Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Debra S. White and Karen L. Goldstein at the law firm of White Goldstein. We are highly experienced and aggressive DUI trial attorneys. Our rates are reasonable and our confidential consultations are free. Please contact us at (877) 779-3946 to learn more about our services and how we can help you or visit our website at www.whitegoldlaw.com.