Roland X. Tiemann - Experienced, Affordable, Aggressive, Dedicated, Northern California DUI Defense Lawyer

Ignition Interlock Devices

What Is An Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device (IID) is a device slightly larger than a cell phone that is wired to your vehicle's ignition. The device 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.

Ignition Interlock Device Pilot Program - Sacramento County

Effective July 1, 2010, legislation requires DMV to conduct an IID pilot program. The program requires all persons convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) under VC §§23152 or 23153, or 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 Ignition Interlock Device (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.

Court-Ordered IID Restriction

When the court orders 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 the IID device installed. After the court notifies the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), DMV marks your 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 will 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 when suspended or revoked for a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction Vehicle Code (VC) §§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 License Suspension/Revocation

If you have been convicted of a second or subsequent DUI violation and have completed at least 1 year of your DUI suspension/revocation you may qualify for a restricted license if you meet these requirements:

In addition, effective July 1, 2010, legislation allows a shorter suspension/revocation period for a second or third DUI offender to install an IID and receive an IID restricted license after a mandatory suspension/revocation period, if the most recent violation of VC §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.

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.

Call DMV at (916) 657-6525 for eligibility or an IID provider.

IID Providers

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 inspections 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 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, 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 listed companies for price quotes.

Questions Commonly Asked

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. Vehicle Code §23247 makes it unlawful for another person to blow into an IID or to start a motor vehicle equipped with the device for the purpose of providing 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 unit will randomly ask for a "running retest." If a test is not taken or if the test is failed, the unit 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 unit lose all memory if the battery is disconnected?
A: No. The unit 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 units can self-diagnose problems and the driver will be able to confirm if the unit is having problems by the condition of the service light. The driver can also call a service provider to help determine if the unit requires service.

Q: Can a participant leave his/her car running outside of a bar, while drinking inside, and then drive away?
A: If someone tries to do this, the unit will randomly ask for breath tests while the vehicle is running. If a sample is not given when requested, the device logs a violation and with some devices, the horn starts to honk until the vehicle is shut off.

Q: What happens when the driver forgets his/her service appointment?
A: The device will prompt the driver. For example, a device may flash or the light may stay on and a tone will sound if it needs service. If the IID is not serviced, all IIDs will enter a lockout condition and the driver will not be able to operate the vehicle. Then, the vehicle would have to be towed to the service center or the service center technician would have to perform remote service.

Q: What if the driver is taking a medicine 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 unit will record the power disconnect and the reconnect.

Q: If the IID unit malfunctions, will it shut the vehicle off?
A: No. The IID unit has no means of interrupting vehicle operation once it is started.

Q: What happens if the vehicle stalls in traffic?
A: The IID unit 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 center for assistance.

Q: Will installation of the IID damage the vehicle?
A: No. The IID unit 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 unit 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.

Contact a Sacramento DUI Attorney at our firm by calling (866) 270-0336 to learn more about how our firm can help to protect you.

For more information call Roland X. Tiemann
at (916) 939-3900 - (530) 621-1800
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©2011 Law Office of Roland X. Tiemann