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Is an In-Car Breathalyzer Required Following a DUI in a California?

Posted on in DUI

Palo Alto DUI defense lawyer IID breathalyzerIn the past, a DUI often meant a suspended license. While that is still a possibility, a new law which went into effect on January 1, 2019 allows some California residents to keep their license after a drunk driving conviction, on the condition that they have a breathalyzer installed in their car. If this type of breathalyzer, known as an ignition interlock device or IID, is implemented, then the driver must blow into it before they start their car. If alcohol is detected, the car will not start. 

The driver will also have to blow into the device at random times while they are driving to check for alcohol. If there is alcohol on the driver’s breath, some breathalyzers will transmit a signal to the car, causing the horn to honk and the lights to flash, so that the driver has to pull over. The breathalyzer is also monitored, and any violations are reported to the proper authorities. 

The idea behind this is that more drivers will be stopped from drunk driving, since those whose licenses are suspended or revoked without the use of a breathalyzer often continue to drink and drive anyway. 

What Constitutes a DUI?

DUI, or driving under the influence, covers the use of alcohol and/or drugs before getting behind the wheel. When a driver is pulled over or involved in an accident, and the driver has a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher, as determined by a breath, urine, or blood test, that driver is considered to be legally intoxicated and therefore should not be driving. DUI charges will result in a variety of penalties, depending on the severity of the situation. 

When Will a Breathalyzer Be Installed?

Breathalyzers have been used in the past, but their use was often left up to the discretion of the judges involved. However, the new law will make their use more commonplace. The law requires almost every driver that has been convicted of a DUI to have an ignition interlock device installed for the following amounts of time:

A DUI-convicted driver who has been in an accident that caused injuries will also have to have a breathalyzer installed in their car. In addition, these devices are not free. Drivers will have to pay as much as $150 to have one installed, plus up to $80 per month while they are in use. For those with low income, subsidies may be available.

Contact an Experienced Santa Clara County DUI Attorney

The Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson can advise and guide you through your DUI charges. With a knowledgeable San Jose criminal defense attorney on your side, you may be able to have your charges and/or penalties reduced or dismissed. Call 408-246-3004 to set up a free consultation.


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