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What is an ignition interlock device?

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When a person is convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the state of California, they often face stiff fines. In some cases, they may be required to take alcohol classes. In almost every case, a person convicted of DUI will be ordered to use an ignition interlock device in their vehicle if they want to continue driving.  In addition to installing an IID in their vehicle, they may also be limited to driving to work or school.

If a person has multiple offenses or if a first offense resulted in injuries, they will be required to install an IID under a state law passed in 2019.

The device normally costs around $2.50 a day and installation is around $100. There are several companies in the state of California that offer the device.

How Does An IID Work?

An IID is a handheld Breathalyzer that is installed on your vehicle’s dashboard and measures your breath alcohol levels in a similar way to breathalyzers that are used by the police. A person simply blows into the device to test the alcohol levels.  If your BAC is over 0.8, you will not be able to start your car. If you are over 21 years of age and your BAC is under 0.8 your car will start. If you are under 21 and you have any alcohol at all on your breath, your car will not start.

In addition to facing fines, license suspension and even jail time, people who have multiple offenses may have to have an IID in their vehicle for many months or even years.

California law gives first-time offenders who have had their license suspended the opportunity to drive to work or school if they agree to install an IID in their vehicle. Multiple offenders must install the devices in their vehicles when their license suspension ends. The law was passed because the devices have been shown to be highly effective in reducing drunk driving.

The History of the Device

In 1936 a biochemistry professor from Indiana invented the Drunkometer which measured a person’s level of intoxication when their breath sample was mixed with a chemical solution. The Breathalyzer we know today was invented by Robert Borkenstein of the Indiana State Police Department. The device measures alcohol vapors in a person’s breath. Police forces around the country began using the device in 1954.

Although they were invented in the early 1970s, Ignition Interlock Devices were not for sale until the 1980s. Today all fifty states use IIDs as a penalty for drunk driving.

Finding an Attorney

If you have been charged with driving while under the influence, you will want to hire an attorney with a comprehensive understanding of DUI law and the court system in California. An attorney may be able to get your penalties and fines reduced. They may also be able to get the amount of time you will have to use an IID lessened. The legal team at has years of experience in criminal law and will work hard to get you a reduced sentence.

Authoritative Sources

augusta free press news
augusta free press news