Ignition Interlock Laws in California


It has already been a year since the ignition interlock laws (IID laws) became effective but it still seems a bit new.  The IID laws are an improvement for second and subsequent offenders throughout the state of California (Senate Bill 598) as individuals are permitted to obtain a reinstatement of their driving privilege earlier. However, they are such an intrusion – both personally and financially – for individuals convicted of a first time DUI in the lucky pilot program counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare Counties (Assembly Bill 91) who are required to install an ignition interlock for five months.  The good news is that the first offense driver does get full driving privileges reinstated once the ignition interlock is installed (along with proof of enrollment in the alcohol education program and an SR-22 filing and payment of  the ever present, additional re-issue fee).

But what about a driver who lives, for example, in Riverside County (a non-pilot program county) and who sustains a conviction of a first offense driving under the influence in Los Angeles County?  They, too, must install the IID as the law addresses county of “conviction” and not residence. How about a person who has a car that does not run and even has a DMV approved “planned non-operation” (PNO) on file with the DMV?  That individual must install the IID (and therefore pay monthly for it) on the vehicle that doesn’t work and has even been exempt from vehicle registration fees.

The logic of the California Legislature is confounding.  Or, maybe it is just that the ignition interlock industry has a lot “invested” in Sacramento.

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