DUI is a grave offense in the state of California. The crime attracts several penalties, including time in jail, payment of fines, and a requirement to have an IID installed in the defendant's car. Depending on the severity of the DUI offense, some offenders could lose their driving privileges. Installation of an IID device is an option for drivers who still want to keep their driving privileges after a DUI conviction. For more information about the Ignition Interlock Device Systems in Van Nuys, California, get in touch with The DUI Defense Attorney. We have experienced DUI attorneys to guide you through the process.

What is a California Ignition Interlock Device?

The Ignition Interlock Device also called an IID is a small form of a DUI breathalyzer that is installed in a car's dashboard. The device, whose size is small as compared to other DUI breathalyzers, is designed in a way that stops the vehicle from moving unless the driver provides an alcohol-free breath sample. These devices are ubiquitous in the state of California and are mainly used in DUI penalties.

A judge orders the installation of IIDs during a DUI offender's trial. The court will require the offender to install the device in their vehicle as part of their probation. Once the order is issued, the offender must do the following:

  • Have the equipment installed professionally in their car
  • Have the device installed in their vehicle or the vehicle they drive. Note that company cars and motorcycles are exempted from this requirement

After the installation, the offender must breathe into the device before they start the vehicle. The breath sample must be alcohol-free for the car to start. If he/she does not provide the breath test or if the sample provided is alcoholic, the vehicle will fail to start. When driving, the device will continue to take random breath tests. This could be every five or fifteen minutes after the driver starts driving. The test is then submitted every 45 minutes.

Once the device asks for a random sample, the driver has only five minutes to blow into it. It gives the driver enough time to stop the car if they do not feel safe to provide the sample while operating the vehicle. If you do not pass the breath test, the IID will not undermine your car's ability to function. However, it will register that as a failed result on the log that the court receives.

Note that IIDs in the state of California are designed in a manner that only the driver will provide their breath samples. The device does the following to ensure that only the legally responsible driver is providing their breath sample to the device:

  • It only registers a particular breath design for every sample it receives. A different pattern will automatically prove that another person other than the driver is providing the breath sample
  • It bears a short cable that can only reach the driver and not the passenger or back seats.
  • The device only calls for random sample tests, even when the driver is already behind the wheel
  • The law makes it an offense for the driver to ask another person to provide their breath sample in place of theirs. when this is done, the driver and the person who provided the false sample will be charged with fraud

In addition to that, California IIDs are designed in a very advanced technology, which enables them to sense and record the following:

  • Any attempt by the driver to tamper with or disconnect the device
  • Every time the car starts and breaks
  • Every breath test result the device takes

Note that after having the California IID system installed in your vehicle, you must return it for servicing or maintenance every two months as a minimum.

Installation of California IID System

 A California judge can order the installation of an IID system in the following instance:

  • When a first DUI offender is convicted with driving under the influence under Section 23152(a) of the California Vehicle Code, more so if the offender was found to be operating with a BAC of 0.015% or more
  • When a DUI offender is found to have refused to yield to a DUI breath or chemical blood test for the first time
  • When a first DUI offender gets a conviction of operating with a BAC level of .08% or more per Section 23152(b) of the California Vehicle Code
  • When a DUI defendant has violated license suspension conditions after a DUI conviction in accordance with Section 14601 of California Vehicle Code.
  • After facing repeated DUI convictions
  • after facing a DUI resulting in Injury conviction per Section 23153 of California Vehicle Code

Other than the situations named above, there are additional DUI conviction situations that could require a DUI defendant to install the system. These are as follows:

First DUI offenses

First-offense DUIs will always call for the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device if the offender does not want to lose their driving privileges for at least six months. The amount of time the offender will be expected to have the device installed in their vehicle is the same as the length of time of the license suspension. In most cases, it is for six months.

If the offender is innocent of drunk driving charges in a California criminal court but is held liable by the DMV,  they must install the device within four months.

Repeat DUI Convictions

California laws require a judge to order a DUI offender to install the IID device in the car for all repeat DUIs in the following manner:

  • One year after a 2nd DUI conviction
  • Two years after a 3rd DUI conviction
  • Three years after a 4th and DUI convictions that follow

However, if a driver is found guilty of a second DUI offense in which they caused an injury in their drunken or drugged state, they will have to install the IID device. The device should remain installed for two years. If it were the third conviction, the defendant would have to keep the IID system in their vehicle for three years.

If it is the determination of a criminal court that you are not guilty, but the DMV finds you liable, you will be required to install and have the device connected for one year. This will be the case whether the conviction was the second of the third.

Here is a summary of the period an IID should Remain installed in California

Type of California DUI Conviction

Length of time for mandatory installation of IID

First offense Sections 23152(a) and 23152(b)

six months

Second offense Sections 23152(a) and 23152(b)

One year

Third offense Sections 23152(a) and 23152(b)

Two years

Fourth and Subsequent offenses  Sections 23152(a) and 23152(b)

Three years

DUI Resulting in Injury, 1st offense, Section 23153

One year

DUI Resulting in Injury, 2nd offense, Section 23153

Two years

DUI Resulting in injuries, 3rd offense, Section 23153

Three years


Compulsory IID for Operating with a Suspended  Driver’s  License, Violation of Section 14601 of California Vehicle Code

In addition to what is listed above, California has requirements for the installation of IID for anyone facing one or additional verdicts for operating on a suspended driver’s license. California laws do not allow anyone to operate a vehicle with a suspended or revoked license. If the suspension or revocation were as a result of a DUI sentence, the driver would be required to have the device installed if they want to continue using their cars.

The installation period could range from one to three years. It all depends on the kind of license violation the defendant has committed, as well as the number of prior DUI convictions or license violations they have.

Installation of the IID System as a Condition for License Restriction

Repeat DUI offenders are likely to get a restricted driver’s license if they appeal against the suspension of their driver’s licenses. As a condition to granting such offenders a restricted permit, California Department of Motor Vehicles will impose some conditions, among them installation of an IID system for a particular period. With a limited license, the offender will be able to drive themselves to work, school, and also to a court-imposed DUI school, as opposed to a revoked or suspended license.

It is important to note that from the start of 2019, California judges are allowing DUI offenders to drive anywhere.  This will be so provided that they have the IID system installed in their vehicles for a scheduled period.

Who Bears the Cost for IID Installation?

The defendant is the one who pays for the installation and maintenance of the IID system in their vehicle. No matter how expensive it is, the court will expect them to bear all the expenses. Averagely, the total cost of an IID system in California will amount to $2.50 daily. Depending on the company, the defendant may encounter additional charges for installation, which could range between $75 and $100. He/she will also be expected to pay the maintenance fee as well as the calibration of the system. 

In a case where the offender is unable to meet the total cost of a mandatory IID system, the court will allow them to pay a portion of the total costs. This is per the state's law on the IID pilot program, provided under Section 23700 of California vehicle Code.

New 2019 Laws for California IID

The state of California has been making significant progress with its IID laws. The newest rules, which came into effect at the beginning of this year, advocate for the expansion of the IID program to cover the entire state. With the new laws in place, most DUI offenders in the state will be expected to have an IID system installed in their vehicles. It will come as a condition for any offender who wants to have their driving privileges reinstated after facing a DUI conviction.

With these laws in place, the only time a driver can avoid having an IID installed in their vehicles is if they do not get any DUI conviction. It is at this point where the services of a competent DUI defense attorney comes in. After arrest, get into contact with the best defense lawyer to discuss the nature of your case and the chance you have of avoiding a conviction. If you are lucky, you may not have to breathe into the device for close to a year or more, depending on the nature of your offense.

The signing of Senate Bill 1046 into a California law has included more states into the IID pilot program that was only effective in four counties. Now, every person with a DUI driver's license suspension but fails to have an IID system installed in their vehicle can have their license restricted. The same is true for drivers with a certain BAC level.

The new law also means that a first DUI offender could get their driving privileges back quickly. The condition is if they agree to have an IID system installed in their vehicles. It means that the mandatory suspension period, which has always been there, will cease to exist if drivers can get the device immediately after the suspension of their licenses. As long as the defendant has the IID installed in their vehicle, they will not experience limitations as to where they can drive. 

Counties, where the requirements have been in place, will not experience significant changes to IID laws. However, for the other counties that were not part of the pilot program, so much will change with the new IID laws. It means that drivers will no longer have to apply for a restricted license is they can get the IID installed. The good thing about these laws is that the driving schedule of a driver does not need to change even after a DUI conviction. Unlike with a restricted license, which only allowed a driver to go to certain places on specific times, the device will enable them to continue driving as if nothing happened.

Frequently Asked Questions about California IID Systems

Where Can I Find an Approved IID System Installer?

As mentioned above, a DUI defendant is required to get in touch with a court-approved IID installer immediately after receiving the court order. There are several authorized installers in the state, where you can have the installation done. The courts approve most of the private IID companies. Some of the popular IID companies include:

  • Intoxalock
  • Sens-O-Lock
  • California Smart Start
  • Guardian Interlock
  • Alcohol Detection Systems

Is It Possible for an IID to Record a Wrong Positive?

Most IID systems in the state operate on a technology called fuel cell. This type of technology is usually alcohol-specific. This means that it is never affected by any external interference. For that reason, there is little chance that the IID installed in your car will record an untrue positive because of substances such as perfume, cigarette smoke, or even gasoline. However, the quantity of alcohol you will blow into the device will be registered. What this means is that if you use an alcohol-based mouthwash, or you eat a pie or liquor-filled candies, the device might pick on that and register the presence of liquor in your sample.

Lucky for you, the device gives the driver a chance to retake the test almost immediately. With that opportunity, you will be able to provide the correct sample since the low amounts of alcohol which could have been in your breath will have disappeared. If you have consumed anything that is alcohol-based before taking the test, you can always rinse your mouth to speed up the process.

What Data is Recorded By IID?

IID systems are designed to record different types of information, depending on the type of device you have in your car, and the requirements set by the court or DMV. Some of this information includes:

  • The driver's BAC level: this is the most critical information considering that most people required to install the system in California are those that have a DUI-related conviction. The reading on your device will help determine whether you can operate your vehicle or not.
  • The starts and stops of your car as well as in-between tests. The system will remember every time you start or fail to start your vehicle as well as the results of the tests you have taken in-between your rides
  • Your car's location and mileage: this is important, especially for drivers who are operating on restricted licenses. The court or DMV would like to know how much you have traveled.
  • Photos and videos: some IIDs come with pre-installed cameras and video capabilities to ensure that it is the right driver that is blowing into the device

Find a DUI Defense Attorney Near Me

If you have been arrested for DUI and would like to learn more about IID systems, it is advisable to get in touch with an experienced DUI defense attorney. The DUI Defense Attorney has a team of well-trained and experienced attorneys that will not only advise you but also help you through the installation process. Call our Van Nuys DUI attorney at 818-253-1913 today if you are in Van Nuys, California.