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Criminal Defense From A Former Prosecutor

Understanding California’s ignition interlock device laws

When accustomed to having a California driver’s license, learning to get by in the absence of one because of a drunk driving conviction can prove immensely difficult. Even after you regain the privilege to drive, you may face additional driving-related hurdles if the court requires you install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

Ignition interlock devices are essentially breath test devices you install on your vehicle after certain driving under the influence convictions. Before you can start a car with an ignition interlock device, you need to produce an adequate breath sample.

Who has to have one?

Whether the California court system requires you to install an ignition interlock device on your car or truck depends on the details and circumstances surrounding your crime and conviction. If you have more than one DUI, you can count on having to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. The same holds true for first-time DUI offenders with a charge that resulted from circumstances that caused injury to someone else. Even if you are a first-time DUI offender and there were not any injuries caused in the incident in question, you may still need to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle if the court recommends you do so.

How long must you keep it on your car?

You can also expect some variation in terms of how long you need to have the device installed on your vehicle. Repeat offenders, and those who caused someone else injury in the event that resulted in their conviction, can expect to have to keep the device for between 12 and 48 months. If you are a first-time offender who did not cause any injuries, the court has the discretion to make you install the device for up to six months.

When you have to install an ignition interlock device, you must do so at your own expense. Once you factor in installation fees, monthly fees, calibration and so on, the device can prove quite expensive to finance.

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