Ignition interlock devices (IIDs) are the small forms of breath test instruments that you may have installed in your car’s dashboard to prevent additional DUI charges or may be a requirement once convicted of DUI. With an IID, your motor vehicle won’t operate unless the device takes an alcohol-free breath sample from you. At Vista DUI Attorney (a Vista-based law firm operating across North County), we acknowledge the fact that IIDs may be required for people with DUI charges. In this guide, our DUI defense lawyers answer some of the questions you’d like to know about IIDs discussed in the DUI laws in California.

How Does an Ignition Interlock Device Work?

An ignition interlock device can be as small as a cellphone in size. You'll have it installed on your car's steering column to comply with your DUI probation orders. A California judge will order you to enlist a professional to install this gadget on a vehicle that you own or usually drive. Note that an IID can't be mounted on a motorcycle or car owned by your employer.

You have to blow air into the IID as a way of providing a breath sample before starting your motor vehicle. Your vehicle’s engine won’t start if you don’t give the breath sample or the breath sample contains alcohol. IIDs are designed to randomly take samples five to fifteen minutes of driving and after every 45 minutes.

As soon as the device asks you for the random samples, give them within a span of six minutes. Ensure that you pull over before taking the exercise for safety purposes. Failing the random tests won’t make the IID disable your vehicle. However, the gadget will log a “fail” in a report that will be sent to a California court.

How Does the IID Ensure that the Breath Sample is Yours?

IIDs have built-in mechanisms for ensuring that only drivers can give their own breath samples. They usually require a particular pattern of breathing for each sample. Furthermore, the IID’s cord is too short to reach the back or passenger seats. You may also find it difficult to ask someone else to take the tests since they randomly come when you're driving.

Under California DUI laws, it’s unlawful to have another person fraudulently take the test on your behalf. IIDs come with built-in technology for detecting and recording the breath test results and attempts made to tamper with or disconnect them. They can also detect that the engine is starting or stopping.

Are There Any Chances for an IID registering a “False Positive”?

Majority of the IIDs rely on fuel cell technology to operate. With the fuel cell technology, these devices only respond to alcohol. They may register a “false positive” when in contact with gasoline, perfume or cigarette smoke.

The IID will log any amount of alcohol found in your breath samples. Note that eating foods or using mouth care products that produce alcohol can make the device to infer that there’s alcohol in your breath. However, you'll get a chance to take another test immediately if you believe the initial one was inaccurate. It would help if you also rinsed your mouth using water before taking the tests to prevent the IID from recording a "false positive."

What Happens if You Don’t Own a Car?

You may qualify for certain exemptions by submitting a signed Exemption for Ignition Interlock Device (DL 4055b) form. You're required to indicate in the form that you can no longer access the car used when you committed a DUI crime. You'll also state that you can't locate the motor vehicle at your area of residence. However, you won't qualify for the DL 4055b exemption if you own an automobile that's currently non-operational.

What are the Types of IID Restrictions in California?

According to the International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety (ICADTS), IIDs reduce forty to ninety percent of DUI offenses. The ICADTS made this inference based on the fact that IIDs can be combined with detailed monitoring and service programs. IID restrictions vary depending on the issuer. They can be DMV or court-issued as discussed below.

  1. Court-Issued IID Restrictions

    A California court may order you to get an IID in your car through the help of a court-approved installer. California courts have various procedures and forms for monitoring drivers that were mandated to get IIDs for their vehicles. The court usually notifies the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) once you’ve been given an IID restriction.

    Once notified, the DMV will restrict your driver’s license giving you the right to drive to only at selected places/routes. The DMV will also mark your driving record for the police officers to be aware of your IID restriction order. Failing to have a court-ordered IID installed in your car may result in the DMV suspending your driving privilege.

  2. DMV-Issued IID Restriction

    The DMV can impose on your driving privilege an IID restriction when convicted for driving under the influence with a revoked or suspended driver's license. For you and the installer agree to DMV's IID restriction terms, you'll have to submit one of two DMV forms within thirty days of being mandated to install an IID in your car. The forms include DL 4054B (Exemption for Ignition Interlock Device) or DL 920 (Verification of Installation Ignition Interlock.

    What Happens Once You Honor the DMV-Ordered IID Restriction?

    Enlist a certified installer to calibrate and inspect the IID once every sixty days. The inspections help prove that the IID is working correctly and that there are no signs of tampering. Your installer will notify the DMV if any suspicious activities or tampering attempts are made. Once reported, the DMV will halt the IID restriction until the installer ascertains that the gadget is functioning correctly.

  3. Optional DMV IID

    You may qualify for an IID-restricted driver’s license if you were charged with “wet reckless” or DUI. The DMV will mandate you to settle all required fees, install an IID on your car and submit a DL 920 form An IID restriction will appear on your driving record. In this case, your driving record will indicate that you once violated the IID requirements. It would help if you served the full restriction term before your driving record is cleared of IID restriction. Law enforcement officers may summon you or have your car taken if you operate a vehicle without an IID while under the restriction period.

    You'll also have to send an SR 22 (California Insurance Proof Certificate) form to the DMV. Obtain the SR 22 form from your car insurance company as proof of being financially responsible.

    Other requirements for an IID-restricted DL include clearing all outstanding revocations or suspensions on your driving record. You'll have to meet the terms of a DUI program and ask the program provider to give you a DL 107 (Proof of Enrollment Certificate) form. You can also submit the DL 107 or DL 101 (Notice of Completion Certificate) to the DMV to get the IID-restricted DL.

What are the Offenses that Lead to Having an IID Installed in Your Car in California?

Various DUI offenses may prompt a California judge to order you to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. They include:

  • A first-time offense driving with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of 0.08 percent or more

  • A first-time offense refusing to take a breath or chemical blood test

  • A first-time DUI offense, especially if your BAC is 0.015 percent or more

  • Having your license suspended from recent DUI convictions

  • DUI offense causing injury

  • Repeat DUI offenses

For a first-time DUI conviction, the judge may order you to have an IID in your car for six months. You may keep it for four months if the DMV finds you liable, but the court doesn't convict you for a DUI charge. The IID will stay a year installed in your vehicle for a second DUI conviction and two years for a third DUI conviction.

You’ll have the device in your car for three years if you’re prosecuted for a DUI offense for the fourth or subsequent time. It's possible not to get convicted for repeat DUI offenses. However, the DMV will still mandate you to install an IID in your vehicle for one year regardless of the number of repeat convictions.

Suspended and Restricted Driver’s Licenses

Vehicle Code 14601 states that it’s unlawful to drive on a suspended license. A DUI conviction can get your driver’s license suspended by the DMV. A California judge may rule that you should install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for one to three years for violating VC 14601.

The DMV will mandate you to install an IID if you're looking to get a restricted driver's licenses, but you're convicted for repeat DUI offenses. With a restricted license, you’ll only be driving to the areas the DMV dictates. Your driving routes may include to/from school, to/from school or to/from an alcohol program.

Which Actions Qualify as Violations of an IID-Restriction Order?

The California DMV considers failure to comply with court orders or have IID installed within 30 days of a court order as unlawful. You’re mandated to fill in and return form ID-110 (Ignition Interlock Installation Verification form) to the probation department or court within the specified time limit. Failing to have the IID maintained or calibrated is also unlawful.

Other Violations are as follows:

  • Circumventing the operations of or tampering with the IID

  • Requesting someone else to bypass the IID for you to drive your car without taking a breath test

  • Failing to notify the individual that loaned, leased or rented you the vehicle about the IID-restriction order

  • Failing to maintain the registration or license of your car

  • Defaulting on any payment plan the court ordered or you agreed with an installer

What are the Consequences of Violating an IID-Restriction order?

Under Vehicle Code 23575, the court has the mandate to notify the DMV if you fail to prove that you had the IID installed in your car within the specified time limit. Punitive measures taken against you by the DMV will depend on the intensity of your violations. You risk having your driver’s license revoked, restricted or suspended for a while.

What Rights Do You Have in this Process?

Vehicle Code 23575(h) suggests that you’ll only get your license suspended if your medical condition doesn’t allow you to blow adequate air into the IID. You'll be mandated to present a document from your physician explaining your current status. The court will then establish whether your condition makes it difficult for you to use the device.

You are entitled to a court petition regarding an IID-restriction if you get your driver’s license restored within the timeline for installing an IID. The nature of your DUI offense and defenses presented by a lawyer may determine whether the court will lift the IID-restriction or dismiss your petition. You also have the right to obtaining a list of DMV-certified IID manufacturers from the court.

How Much will it Cost You to Get an Ignition Interlock Device?

The average cost for using an IID in California in a day is $2.50. IID companies may also ask for installation fees ranging from $75 to $1000. Other charges you may expect to pay include calibration and maintenance fees. Vehicle Code 23700 (California's law on the mandatory IID pilot program) highlights that you can pay only a fraction of these costs if you can’t afford all of them.

Finding a Court-Certified IID Installer

Hundreds of private companies operating in California have the court approval to install IIDs on cars. Visit DMV’s official website or DMV's field office to get a list of state-approved IID installers. You can also call DMV via the landline number provided on their official website.

What are the Conditions for Having the IID Removed from Your Car?

IID installation/removal procedures should only occur when DMV’s Mandatory Actions Unit (MAU) is contacted. You’ll have to submit the original DL 920 form with the required fees in person at your local DMV field office. You can also mail it with the necessary fees to the official MAU address. Some of the conditions that can make it mandatory for an IID to be uninstalled are as follows:

Change of Vehicle

If you own multiple cars, you can have your installer remove it from one car and place it onto another one. The installer will have to fill and submit Section 2 of the DL 922 (Ignition Interlock Notice of Removal) form. A copy of this form should be faxed to DMV’s MAU within three days for you to have the notice of removal approved.

Stolen, Destroyed or Unavailable Vehicle

Notify your installer immediately when your car catches fire or becomes unavailable through means such as theft. The DMV mandates your installer to update your file with any suitable comment or documentation that references your car’s unavailability. This report should also reach MAU for appropriate action to be taken.

If you get a replacement or new car, don’t forget to notify your installer too. The installer is mandated to fill Section VI of DL 920 (Verification of Installation Ignition Interlock) form. Details to be provided in this section include make, year, license plate number and identification number of the unavailable vehicle.

Change of IID Manufacturer

The DMV allows you to change from one IID service provider to the other. You won't need any approval from the DMV to make this transaction. Expect internal log changes or damages to the IID to occur if an authorized installer isn't removing the device. The DMV may consider such an action as an attempt to bypass or tamper with the IID.

Always comply with the terms of your IID-restriction order during this transition, which include filling and submitting DL 920 and DL 922 forms simultaneously. You’re not allowed to operate your car unless it has an IID installed. Your role is to resolve all the contract issues when changing IID service providers without DMV involvement. You’re also mandated to get a provider that can accommodate your needs and collaborate with your current provider for the installed IID to be removed.

Standard Removal

The term "standard removal," in this context, refers to the procedure of having an IID removed at the termination date of your IID-restriction order. An authorized installer should conduct this procedure and fill Sections I to IV of the DL 922 form. Completed forms should be submitted to MAU in three working days. The installer should keep one copy of the completed DL 922 form and give you another copy of the same.

Seek Help on Your IID-Restriction Order from a Lawyer Near Me

When convicted for a DUI crime, you may be mandated to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. To many people, having this device on the car can be embarrassing and frustrating.

It would help if you had legal advice to avoid the consequences associated with violating IID-restriction orders.

Our firm (Vista DUI Attorney) is comprised of lawyers who are reputable for taking on DUI defense cases across Vista and the entire North County region. We can help secure you a better deal for your DUI charges. Our attorneys will be at your service to save you the embarrassment or frustration that comes with the criminal process and having to install an IID. Call our Vista DUI Lawyer now at 760-691-1540, we would love to offer you a free consultation.