California’s DUI laws can be complex and confusing. In this section, our attorneys break down the rules and explain the process.
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The average cost of an ignition interlock device (IID) is between $70 and $100 per month. The ignition interlock provider might also charge an installation fee, which is typically between $75 and $100. Depending on the severity of a person’s driving under the influence (DUI) offense, and the number of months a person has to use the device, total costs can range between a few hundred dollars and a few thousand dollars. IIDs are also referred to as Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices (BAIIDs).
Ignition interlock devices are miniature car breathalyzers that get installed in the dashboard of a motor vehicle. Before the driver can start the car, he/she must provide an alcohol-free breath sample. If the IID detects alcohol in the motorist’s breath, the device prevents the party from starting the car. Installation of an IID is a common penalty in DUI cases.
In most drunk driving cases, a judge may order a defendant to install an IID. Installation, though, is mandatory in cases involving:
The total cost of an ignition interlock device will vary based upon the facts of a person’s DUI charge and the device’s provider.
With that said, though, the average cost of the device itself is between $70 and $100.
The provider of the device may also charge for an instillation cost. Ignition interlock installation typically runs between $75 and $100. However, the majority of today’s providers provide a free installation.
A party may also face monthly fees for calibration and maintenance of the device.
The length of time that a person has to use an IID will vary depending on the severity of the person’s underlying DUI. For example, a person with a first-time DUI conviction will normally have to use the device for six months. However, repeat DUI offenders may have to use an IID for 12 to 48 months.
Given this range, the total ignition interlock device cost can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.
Note that under California’s mandatory IID pilot program law (Vehicle Code 23700 VC), if people cannot afford the cost of their mandatory IID, they will receive financial assistance and are only obligated to pay a portion of the costs.1
A few common ignition interlock providers in California include:
Companies have installation locations throughout the state.
An ignition interlock device is a type of mini-breathalyzer instrument that gets installed on the steering column of a person’s vehicle.
Prior to starting the car, a motorist has to blow into the device and provide an alcohol-free breath sample. If the IID detects the presence of alcohol, the driver cannot start the vehicle.
If the driver successfully starts the auto, then IID requirements result in drivers providing random samples, between five to 15 minutes after their cars start and then about every 45 minutes thereafter.
If a motorist fails to pass a test after starting the vehicle, the person can still drive the auto. But the IID will register a failed test that ultimately gets reported to the court.
Note that an IID detects a person’s breath alcohol content (BrAC), it does not measure a person’s Blood Alcohol Content or Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) directly.
IIDs are capable of detecting:
Under California State laws, a judge may order a driver to install an ignition interlock device for:
Meanwhile, a judge will order drunk drivers to install an IID for:
Yes. A judge can impose penalties in DUI cases that are addition to, or in lieu of, the installation of an IID. A few common ones include:
Given the severity in California’s DUI sentencing, it is critical for DUI offenders to get help from a skilled DUI attorney. Defense lawyers can help drivers tailor a legal defense to contest any criminal charges they face.
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.