California Ignition Interlock Laws

Beginning July 1, 2010, two new laws will affect the rights and responsibilities of those convicted of certain DUI offenses in Los Angeles, Alameda, Tulare and Sacramento Counties. Assembly Bill 91 and Senate Bill 598 both involve the use of ignition interlock devices, or IIDs.

  • AB 91 creates a pilot program for select counties, (Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare), that will require all drivers convicted of a DUI offense to install IIDs in their vehicles as a condition to receive restricted driving privileges.
  • SB 598 shortens the amount of time certain repeat DUI offenders will have to wait before becoming eligible to apply for restricted California driving privileges. To receive the restricted license though, these drivers will be required to meet certain criteria, such as the installation of an interlock device in their vehicles.

New law #1:   AB91, the mandatory IID pilot program

The pilot program created by AB 91 makes it mandatory for everyone convicted of a DUI in Los Angeles, Alameda, Tulare or Sacramento County to install an ignition interlock device in every vehicle they own and operate.  This means that if you have your own car, and your spouse has a separate car you sometimes drive, you MUST install an interlock device in both vehicles.

Some of the other requirements of the law include:

  • You must certify to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that the device has been installed in all vehicles before you can apply for a restricted driver’s license.
  • You must take the vehicle into the certified provider of the IID every 60 days for maintenance. Missing three or more of these appointments may result in loss of driving privileges for an extended period of time.

The amount of time the device will have to remain in the car(s) will depend on how many times you have been convicted of DUI. Those convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (Vehicle Code §23152) can expect to keep the IID for the following amount of time:

  • First time offenders: 5 months
  • Second time offenders: 12 months
  • Third time offenders: 24 months
  • Fourth time offenders: 36 months

The program is slated to run from July 1, 2010 to January 1, 2016.

Under California state law for all OTHER counties, only certain DUI offenders are required to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles as a condition of receiving restricted driving privileges. Courts are given the discretion to order first time DUI offenders with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.15 or greater to install an IID.  Current law does not make ignition interlock devices mandatory for first time offenders.

New law #2:   SB 598, earlier restricted licenses for repeat DUI offenders

The second new law offers shortened license suspension and revocation periods for certain repeat DUI offenders who meet specific criteria.

A person convicted of a second DUI in California within 10 years of the first DUI may now become eligible to apply for a restricted driving license after completing the first 90 days of a two year license suspension period. (Under the prior version of the law, the individual would have to wait for 12 months before applying for the restricted license.)

To qualify for the restricted California driver license, you must provide:

  • Either proof of enrollment or partial completion of a 18 or 30 month certified DUI program
  • Proof of financial responsibility (i.e. proof of SR 22 insurance)
  • Installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device
  • Payment for any applicable fees, including reinstatement, reissue and restriction fees

The amount of time you must wait before becoming eligible to apply for the restricted license and the criteria for obtaining the license vary based on the type of DUI offense, the number of previous convictions and whether the offense included alcohol, drugs or a combination of both.

If you have been arrested for DUI in California, and your conviction happens after July 1, 2010, please contact a lawyer immediately for more information about how these laws may affect you.  If you have already been ordered to install a California ignition interlock device, contact Smart Start of California to make an appointment at a location near you.

Beginning in 2010, drivers in some counties will be required to install an ignition interlock device after a first DUI conviction

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed two laws requiring drivers convicted of driving under the influence to install ignition interlock devices that prevent vehicles from starting if alcohol is detected on the driver’s breath.  This is a huge step for the state of California, and it will almost certainly improve safety for all Californians, including those who have made mistakes in the past.

The first bill, written by California Assemblyman Mike Feuer, is a pilot project that will be tested in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare Counties, and it requires the installation of ignition interlock devices on any vehicle owned or operated by an individual convicted of a DUI offense.  Thousands of Californians will be affected by this bill.  There are approximately 200,000 DUI arrests each year in the state.

The other bill, authored by California Sen. Bob Huff will, allow repeat DUI offenders to apply for restricted licenses if they install such devices.  This bill will give opportunities to those who have made mistakes in the past to continue with their lives and get back on track.  After such an arrest, it’s important to offenders to continue to work and care for their children.

The pilot project begins on July 1, 2010 and will extend to January 1, 2016.  By July 1, 2015, the California Department of Motor Vehicles will report to the Legislature on the pilot project’s effectiveness in reducing the number of repeat DUI offenses.

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