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San Jose DUI defense attorneyDriving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol has been proven to impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. Studies show that many car accidents are caused by drunk driving, often resulting in serious to fatal injuries. That is why any motorist who does so can face stiff criminal penalties if caught and convicted. In California, a DUI may result in loss of driving privileges, steep fines, or even prison time. Depending on the circumstances of their arrest, some offenders may be mandated to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle.  

How Does an IID Work? 

When an ignition interlock device is installed on a vehicle, it measures a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) and disables the vehicle’s ignition if a certain amount of alcohol is detected on his or her breath. They are similar to breathalyzer tests, but they control whether or not a car can be started. The majority of IIDs will alert a driver when it is time to give another breath sample. If it detects alcohol, an alarm will go off or the horn will honk to prompt a motorist to stop and turn off the car. It is important to note that the device cannot automatically turn off a vehicle’s engine. 

California DUI Laws

If you are arrested for DUI in California, the penalties can vary depending on the circumstances. First offenders can face between four days to six months in jail; a fine up to $1,000, and a license suspension for up to six months.

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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. 

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