California Ignition Interlock Laws

California highways are some of the most heavily traveled in the world. With over 200,000 DWI arrests in 2008, California has the dubious distinction of having the most DWI offenders of any state in the country. The state ranks 2nd in alcohol related highway fatalities, with just over 1,200 in 2008. It is no exaggeration to say that California is ground zero when it comes to the fight against curtailing the amount of inebriated drivers on our highways, a fact that is not lost on the law makers or law enforcement officers in the state.

California has enacted several Ignition Interlock Laws and are leaders in the implementation of the devices to help stop DWI drivers in the state. Many of these laws place the power to required IIDs in the hands of the courts, but there are also some mandatory facets to the law that can effect DUI offenders, especially repeat offenders:

First time DUI offenders may require the installation of an ignition interlock device in order to operate their motor vehicle; the judge has discretion to order this device for a first-time drunk driving conviction, and will most likely do so in cases involving a BAC that is .15 or higher, when the offender refused to take a chemical test at the time of arrest or when injuries have occurred due to the DUI accident.

Second time DUI offenders will be required to install IIDs as a condition of being granted probation. The only matter to be decided will be the length of the requirement, which can range from one year to three years.

Habitual offenders who have been arrested for DUIs more than two times can expect mandatory installation of ignition interlock devices for extended periods of time. Additionally, renewal of unobstructed licenses for these drivers is unlikely.

Participating in California’s ignition interlock device program in order to get restored driving privileges does not mean a return to “regular driver” status. The license issued is considered a restricted license, which should be used so an individual can go to and from work, school, or take care of other matters deemed important by the courts. The use of IIDs in this manner allows DUI offenders to get back to the road sooner, enabling them to again become constructive members of society, while also eliminating the risk of recidivism among the DUI offenders. This is important because a staggering amount of DWI offenses are perpetrated by repeat offenders. Research shows that ignition interlocks reduce recidivism among both first-time and repeat DWI offenders, with reductions in subsequent DWI arrests ranging from 50 to 90 percent while the interlock is installed on the vehicle

Ignition interlock orders allow DUI offenders to continue working, paying taxes, supporting their families and contributing to society while staying within the legal licensing system. Monitoring drivers allows them to seek treatment and reduces overcrowding in jails. At the same time, it effectively counteracts the problem of drivers continuing to drink and drive with suspended licenses. Smart Start of California has IID locations throughout the state is here to help those who need an ignition interlock device, and we are here to take your call at any time, day or night. Please call on us 24/7 at 1-800-880-3394. There’s no cost or obligation, you can also fill out our easy online appointment form.

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