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Does California Require an Ignition Interlock Device Be Installed after a DUI Conviction?


Interviewer: Does California order the use ignition interlock devices for any kind of DUI cases?

California Does Require Ignition Interlock Devices after Multiple DUI Offenses

Aaron: Yes. If you have a second, third or more DUIs, what now happens on a second DUI in California within 10 years is you would have to go three months of no driving. Then you can get a license with an ignition interlock on it for the next 21 months.

With a third DUI, after six months of no driving you could get an ignition interlock for at least the next 18 months if not longer depending on what the DMV is requiring for your suspension.

Four Counties in California Are in a Trial to Require Installation of Ignition Interlock Devices for a First Offense DUI

There are four test counties in California. Those would be Los Angeles, Tulare, Sacramento and Alameda. Those counties are requiring ignition interlock on a conviction for a first offense DUI. You have to install an ignition interlock after being convicted.

Even if you wait a long period of time eventually when you want to get a license or get it back, they’ll still make you install the interlock until you’ve had it on your vehicle for the required period of time, which is approximately five or six months. That’s something that very well could expand to the rest of the state once the five-year trial period is over.

There are already bills I have heard that are coming out where they’re trying to make that a law as soon as possible. I’ve heard that a number of states are requiring ignition interlocks on first offense. I believe the state of Washington is requiring it right now.

I think one of the more effective ways that they’ve found to get people to stop drinking and driving repeatedly is requiring the installation of this device. I had a client a number of years ago who kept it on his car because he felt like it was saving him. His car wouldn’t start. He’d get way too drunk and try and start his car.

He claims it saved him from getting a number of other DUIs, which would have ended up eventually landing him in state prison. It is, in many cases, effective but many would say that it’s too harsh on a first offense DUI. We’re human. We make mistakes.

Education, I think, is the best way to go. Does everyone who gets a first DUI need an ignition interlock? Absolutely not. I think it’s too harsh but there are many who would disagree with me.

By Aaron Bortel

Aaron Bortel

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