Will I Need an Ignition Interlock in My Car?

Posted by Brett Hartmann | Mar 08, 2021

On January 1, 2019, Senate Bill 1046 went into effect.   The new laws allow judges to order a driver to install and ignition interlock device (IID) if the driver is convicted of a first offense DUI.  (An IID is a hand-held breathalyzer.  The driver must blow into the device before driving and will be unable to drive if the IID detects any alcohol.)

The new laws are very confusing and have been the subject of considerable debate among attorneys and judges.  I will address the main points here.

The new laws only apply to people who were arrested on or after January 1, 2019.   That means that if you were arrested prior to that date and are convicted on or after that date, you should be punished under the prior law.  The vehicle code is very clear on this. (See: Vehicle Code Section 13352(m) and 23575.3(p).)  Unfortunately, however, judges in Monterey County are applying the law to anyone who is convicted of a DUI on or after January 1, 2019, regardless of when the arrest occurred.

On a first offense conviction, when the arrest occurred on or after January 1, 2019, the Vehicle Code does not require an IID, but the judge can order it as a term of probation.  See Vehicle Code 23573.3(h)(1)(A)(i).
If the judge orders an IID, it cannot be longer that 6 months from the date of conviction. Vehicle Code 23575.3(h)(1)(A)(i).
If DMV rules against you at the APS hearing (for driving with an alcohol level of 0.08% or higher), DMV will impose a 4-month suspension. Vehicle Code 13353.3(b)(1)(A).
If you are convicted of a DUI in Court, DMV will suspend your license for 6 months (even if you won your DMV hearing). Vehicle Code 13352(a)(1)(A).
If your license is suspended, you can apply for a restricted license.  There are two ways to do this:
1.      Install an IID for 6 months. The total license suspension time after conviction is 6 months and you must keep the IID installed for that 6 months. Vehicle Code 13353.3(b)(1)(B), 13352 (a)(1)(A)(i).  If you install an IID, you are eligible for a restricted license allowing you to drive anywhere and anytime you like as long as you have the IID installed.

2.      If you do not want to install an IID, you can still get a restricted license. Vehicle Code 13352.4. But it lasts 12 months and you can only drive for work and for the DUI class (Vehicle Code 13352.4(b)).

For assistance installing an IID in Northern California contact: Lifesafer Interlock

About the Author

Brett Hartmann

Brett Hartmann is a Monterey County local, having moved here at 10 years old. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of California, San Diego, Brett moved back home to Salinas to give back to the community. Shortly after moving home, Brett enrolled at Monte...

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