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California DUI ignition interlock law takes effect

A California state law requiring people who are convicted of DUIs to install ignition interlock mechanisms in their vehicles went into effect on Jan. 1. The law was signed by the governor in 2016. In order to get back their privileges to drive, people who have DUI convictions will have to install the devices, which are essentially a Breathalyzer connected to the vehicle’s ignition system, preventing the car from starting if the driver has been drinking.

According to a California Assemblyman, implementing the program statewide makes roadways safer and prevents repeat DUI offenses. He called it a win for California. People who are convicted of a first-offense DUI who did not cause injuries have a choice between a one-year restricted driver’s license or installing an interlock machine for six months. In cases of second-offense DUI or first-offense DUI with injury to others, the convicted person must install an interlock mechanism for one year.

Individuals convicted of third-offense DUI must install the interlocks for two years. Those who have four or more DUI convictions must install ignition interlock technology in their cars for three years. The law comes following a pilot program that ran in Los Angeles, Tulare, Alameda and Sacramento counties. The California DMV studied the pilot program and said that the likelihood of repeat offenses by DUI first-offenders was lowered by 74 percent among those who had to use interlock devices.

People who are convicted of DUI in California may face serious consequences including jail time, fines and restricted driving privileges. An attorney with experience practicing criminal defense law might be able to help a person who is facing drunk driving charges by examining the facts of the case and looking for holes in the prosecution narrative. An attorney could argue against the admissibility of prosecution evidence or represent the client during criminal proceedings.

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John Patrick Ryan has been practicing law for over 20 years. Experienced in criminal law. U.S. Navy Veteran.