September 19, 2011 By Matthew Wallin

If I am convicted of a DUI in LA will I have to install a Breathalyzer on my vehicle?

Under current California state law, only certain DUI offenders are required to install ignition interlock devices (IID) in their vehicles as a condition of receiving restricted driving privileges. For example, courts are given the discretion to order first time DUI offenders with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.15 or greater to install an IID. It is important to note, however, that current law does not make ignition interlock devices mandatory for first time offenders.  An experienced DUI defense lawyer can help a person avoid installing one of these costly devices, however, if you are driving in LA County, a program has recently been introduced that would really crack down on DUI offenders.

A pilot program created by AB 91 makes it mandatory for everyone convicted of a DUI, whether a first time or repeat offender, to install an ignition interlock device in every vehicle they own and operate. For example, if you share a vehicle with your significant other or roommate, an IID must be installed in that car before you can drive it.

Only four counties are participating in the program: Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare Counties. Some of the other requirements of the law include:

  • The individual must certify to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that the device has been installed in all of their vehicles before they can apply for a restricted driver’s license.
  • The individual must take the vehicle into the certified provider of the IID every 60 days for maintenance. Missing three or more of these appointments may result in the individual losing his or her driving privileges for an extended period of time.

The amount of time the device will have to remain in the car will depend on how many times the individual has been convicted of a drunk driving offense. For example, those convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (Vehicle Code §23152) can expect to keep the IID for the following amount of time:

  • First time offenders: 5 months
  • Second time offenders: 12 months
  • Third time offenders: 24 months
  • Fourth time offenders: 36 months

If you drive a vehicle for work- you can get a waiver that allows you to drive work vehicles NOT equipped with the IID as long as you 1) Notify your employer that you are required under AB 91 to have an IID installed on your personal vehicle; and 2) Keep proof of that notice on you at all times you are driving that company vehicle without an IID installed on it.

The program is slated to run from July 1, 2010 to January 1, 2016.

If you or a loved one have been charged with a DUI contact the experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Wallin &Klarich.  We’ve have been helping criminal defendants for over 30 years.  Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245.

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