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If a resident of the Los Angeles, California area is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), there is a requirement of having an ignition interlock device (IID) placed on their vehicle. This is required by the California Department of Motor Vehicles through its Pilot Program. The Pilot Program was previously supposed to expire on December 31, 2015, but the state legislature passed a bill to extend it through July 1, 2017.
The Pilot Program is applied to any individuals who have been convicted of any DUI offense as per California Vehicle Code 23152 VC, a DUI causing injury as per California’s Vehicle Code Section 23153 VC or vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, which violates the state’s Penal Code Section 191.5 PC. However, it does not apply to those who have been convicted of reduced DUI charges, including exhibition of speed or wet reckless.
An interlock ignition device is something that is installed directly into a vehicle’s ignition. The only way the individual is able to even start their car is by providing a breath sample directly into the IID. If the device detects alcohol within the sample, the car will not start. If it does not detect alcohol, the vehicle will start. However, after a car is in operation, the interlock ignition device will periodically request additional tests, called “rolling tests,” that mean the driver must blow into the IID in order to keep the car running.
The IID Pilot Program is in place for individuals convicted of DUI not only from Los Angeles but three other counties as well. Those are Alameda, Sacramento and Tulare. If the person lives in a different county but was convicted in one of the four in which the Pilot Program applies, they would still be required to have an interlock ignition device in place in their vehicle. It can be installed by a local installer through the DMV.
If a driver is convicted of a first DUI offense, they must have the IID on their vehicle for five months. There would be no restrictions on when and where the person could drive. After the five months’ time has passed, the IID can be removed. If the individual did not complete a mandatory alcohol education program, he or she would get a restricted driver’s license that allows them to drive to and from classes until completion of the class. Another option is that the driver can ask for an extension of the IID, which provides unlimited driving until he or she finishes the class.
With a second DUI conviction, the individual would need the IID for 12 months. Generally, the driver would have a restricted license once completing a 90-day suspension that disallows driving. If the individual has two prior DUI convictions, the IID would be in place for 24 months or 36 months for a fourth conviction. However, a person convicted of a DUI that caused injury to another person requires an IID for 12 months for a first conviction. If the individual had a prior DUI conviction, they would be required to have the IID for 36 months. Four or more prior DUI convictions would require the individual to have the IID in place for a period of 48 months.
It’s worth noting that the IID is not part of a defendant’s sentence. It is required by the DMV and doesn’t come into play as an issue in court. However, certain DUI defendants can be exempt from having an IID. Those who no longer have access to a vehicle or who reside in a different state can file for exemption through the DMV.