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How Long Do I Have to Have an Ignition Interlock Device in My Car?

Posted by Terry A. Wapner | Mar 06, 2014 | 0 Comments

In California, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device in your car after being convicted of a DUI (driving under the influence) offense. This device is meant to be a type of restriction on your driving. Basically, an ignition interlock device is used to measure a driver's BAC (blood alcohol content) level.

Here's how it works: as a driver, you blow into the device in order for it to determine your BAC. The device is normally installed near the vehicle's ignition. If the device shows that your BAC is higher than what the state allows, the car will not start.

So, how long do you have to have it? Well, it depends on the severity of your charge, where you live, and whether you have been convicted of a similar offense in the past.

  • 1st Offense: Under a fairly recent law, Vehicle Code 23700 VC, every driver convicted of a first offense DUI in Los Angeles, Alameda, Tulare, and Sacramento counties must install an ignition interlock device in his vehicle. In most cases, the judge will require the device to be in your car for 5 months. If this first offense involved an injury, you will have the device for 1 full year.
  • Multiple Offenses: If you are a repeat offender and live in Los Angeles, Alameda, Tulare, or Sacramento county, you will have to have the device installed for one year after a second offense, 2 years for a third offense, and 3 years if this is your fourth conviction or more.
  • If your second DUI caused an injury, you will have the device in your car for 2 years. A third DUI offense with injury is 3 years and a fourth or more is 4 years.
  • If you do not live in one of the four above-mentioned counties, there is no automatic time requirement for which you must have the device in your car. However, if this new law proves to be a successful deterrent for DUI, the law may be rolled out to all California counties.

Further, it will be up to you to pay for the initial installation and the regular maintenance of the device. For the machine to work properly, it must be calibrated on a consistent basis. The cost to have the device installed is anywhere between $50-$200. The cost generally varies because of your car's make and model. You can also expect to pay a monthly rental fee associated with the device. This costs between $50-$100 per month.

DUI charges are expensive and inconvenient! Not only do you have to deal with the ignition interlock device, but you will also have court fees, fines, alcohol education classes, possible jail time, and a suspended license.

I have worked in the area of DUI defense for more than 27 years. I understand the law and I know that just because a client is charged with DUI does not mean that he is guilty! If you are facing DUI charges in Fresno or the surrounding areas, give my office a call and we can schedule a consultation.

About the Author

Terry A. Wapner

Terry A. Wapner confines his practice to the defense of persons accused of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and related crimes.


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