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2019 Changes to California's Ignition Interlock Device Law


Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) are small breathalyzers about the size of a cellphone. IIDs are attached to a steering column, requiring a driver to provide an alcohol-free breath sample before the vehicle can start. As the person drives their vehicle, the breathalyzer device requires that the driver breathe into the device at periodic intervals during the trip.

Each state has specific IID requirements for people who are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). Some states require that all DUI defendants install them upon conviction, even for a first offense, while others only require them if the driver has a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC), or if it’s a second or third DUI offense.

Up until recently, California judges had discretion when it came to ordering the installation of an IID in a DUI case. Prior to January 2019, a judge could order the installation of an IID for up to three years whenever he or she felt it was appropriate. However, Senate Bill No. 1046, approved by California’s governor on September 28, 2016, expanded California’s existing IID laws, giving judges less discretion.

How Does Senate Bill 1046 Change Things?

Senate Bill 1046 went into effect on January 1, 2019, effectively expanding the state’s existing IID laws. Here’s what the changes mean to California drivers:

  • The bill expands the existing pilot program in the counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare that required installing an IID for all offenders convicted of DUI. Under the bill, the pilot program was extended in the above counties until January 1, 2026.
  • This is how the bill is affecting Orange County residents: As of January 1, 2019, all California residents must install an IID on all vehicles he or she operate, even if it’s for a first DUI offense.
  • Until January 1, 2026, if someone is convicted of DUI, including a first DUI with injury, he or she can apply for a restricted license if they install an IID without completing their license suspension or revocation period (providing all requirements are satisfied).

This is only a summary of the 2019 changes to California’s IID laws. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry.

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