Of all the potential penalties associated with a San Diego driving under the influence (DUI) conviction, being required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle may seem like one of the most restrictive and intrusive penalties, and it can be for some people. Under a new IID law in California, however, having an IID installed in your vehicle can actually help you get your driving privileges reinstated sooner, depending on the circumstances of your case. But even that may not be necessary if you can avoid a DUI conviction in the first place. Your best option when facing DUI charges in San Diego is to consult a DUI defense attorney who can help you navigate the complexities of San Diego DUI law and inform you of your legal rights based on your specific situation. Contact our knowledgeable DUI lawyers at Sevens Legal, APC today to discuss how to move forward if you have been arrested for or charged with DUI in San Diego or the surrounding areas.
Ignition Interlock Devices
An ignition interlock device is essentially a breathalyzer test built directly into your vehicle’s ignition system. Certain DUI offenses in San Diego come with IID installation requirements, and when you have an IID installed in your vehicle, you can only start the engine by blowing into a mouthpiece that measures your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If your breath is free of alcohol, the vehicle will start. If it’s not, it won’t. IIDs may also request periodic breath samples while you are driving, a feature that is designed to prevent you from having someone who is sober start your car for you. If you fail one of these on-the-road tests, the fail will be recorded by the device and reported to the court. Additionally, the IID will record any attempt to tamper with, bypass or remove the device, and any of these “tricks” can result in the driver having his or her license immediately suspended.
New IID Law in California
Not all California DUI convictions require installation of an interlock device, but the criminal penalty is becoming more and more common, as the state cracks down on drunk driving offenses. In fact, California passed a new law that went into effect on January 1, 2019, which expands California’s IID “pilot program” statewide for most DUI offenses. Under the new law, eligible individuals who have had their driver’s license suspended because of a DUI conviction may be able to get their driving privileges reinstated by installing an IID in their vehicle. What this means is, San Diego DUI offenders who are eligible for IID installation can get their license back more quickly than before, without being subjected to a mandatory suspension period. These new IID licensing requirements are set to remain in place until January 1, 2026.
San Diego IID Requirements
Initially, under California state law, IIDs were only required for certain repeat DUI offenders and DUI with injury offenders, and there was a mandatory suspension period of 30 days before a driver was eligible for a restricted license, which was only good for driving to certain places, such as work, school or a DUI treatment program. However, in 2010, several counties in California launched a pilot program that allowed most DUI offenders to get their driving privileges back earlier by installing an IID in their vehicles, and the pilot program was implemented statewide with the new ignition interlock law that was passed in January 2019. Under the new law, most DUI offenders will be eligible for a restricted driver’s license as soon as they have an IID installed in their vehicle.
IID Installation Time Periods
Generally speaking, the IID requirements imposed by the court depend on your criminal history and the specific circumstances of your DUI case, which is why hiring an experienced DUI defense attorney to represent your case is always a good idea. Because San Diego DUIs are “priorable” offenses, the punishment increases with each DUI conviction that takes place within a ten-year period, and the same is true for the IID installation requirement.
How Will an Ignition Interlock Device Affect Me?
Being required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle can be frustrating and costly, but it can also be advantageous. On one hand, installing an interlock device is expensive, and having to take a breathalyzer test every time you want to start your car and periodically while you are driving can be annoying and embarrassing. However, getting an IID can also go a long way towards helping you get your driver’s license back, and may be worth it if you typically drive your car on a daily basis.
Failing to Install an IID
If the judge in your DUI case orders IID installation as part of your DUI probation, you will have to have an IID professionally installed in every vehicle you own or drive, with the exception of employer-owned cars and motorcycles. If you are ordered by the court to install an IID in your vehicle and you fail to do so, you could be found guilty of a probation violation, which is itself a crime. You could end up serving time in jail or facing other serious penalties as a result of failing to install an interlock device, and you would not be able to get your driving privileges reinstated until you complied with the court order to install an IID.
Applying for a Restricted License
All DUI convictions in San Diego come with a mandatory driver’s license suspension imposed by the DMV. However, you may be able to apply for a restricted license, which would allow you to drive for certain purposes, such as traveling to and from work, school or a court-ordered DUI program. This is where an IID can actually help you. In some cases, the court may only allow you to apply for a restricted license if you install an interlock device in your car. Or, for repeat DUI offenses, the court may give you the choice of serving a so-called “hard suspension” – meaning no driving at all – or installing an IID and cutting the hard suspension down considerably. If you choose the latter option, you can often get your license back after the period of hard suspension is over and have the freedom to drive anywhere you want. Under California’s new ignition interlock device law, individuals who receive an administrative driver’s license suspension imposed by the DMV can apply for an IID-restricted license before a conviction and receive credit towards their required IID restriction period if they are later found guilty of DUI.
San Diego DUI Defense
The state of California has taken a tough stance on DUI crimes and drunk driving offenses are prosecuted and punished harshly in San Diego and throughout the state. That being said, no matter what DUI charges you are facing, you still have rights. As in any criminal case, you are presumed innocent of the DUI charges unless proven guilty, and the prosecutor in your case bears the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest standard of proof in any court in the United States. In order to prove your guilt and get a DUI conviction in San Diego, the prosecutor will have to establish each element of the DUI crime to the extent that there can be no other reasonable explanation for the facts presented at trial, except that you are guilty of the crime. For instance, in order to get a conviction for a first offense DUI with injury in San Diego, the prosecution must prove the following points:
- You drove a motor vehicle,
- At the time you drove, you were under the influence or had a BAC of 0.08% or higher,
- In addition to DUI, you broke another law or acted negligently, and
- Your negligence or illegal act caused injury to another person.
If your attorney can devise a strong defense that challenges the evidence against you and prevents the prosecution from meeting its burden of proof, he or she may be able to get you acquitted, in which case you could avoid any IID installation requirements altogether.
Best Defense Strategies for DUI in San Diego
If you are facing DUI or DUI with injury charges in San Diego, it probably feels like the deck is stacked against you. However, it is possible to beat DUI charges in San Diego and avoid mandatory IID installation, so long as you have a capable and competent DUI defense lawyer on your side and a credible defense strategy on the table. The following are some possible defenses your attorney may be able to use to help you fight a first, second or subsequent San Diego DUI charge and avoid a conviction and IID requirement:
- Illegal arrest
- Illegal DUI checkpoint
- Lack of probable cause
- False positive DUI breath or blood test
- Title 17 violation
- Miranda violation
- Police misconduct
- Mishandled evidence
- No impairment
How Our San Diego Defense Attorneys Can Help
More California DUI offenders than ever are being required to install IIDs in their vehicles, which the state sees as a way to reduce DUI incidents, particularly repeat offenses. While installation of an ignition interlock device may seem like the end of the world, it can actually help you get your license back sooner and avoid a period of mandatory driver’s license suspension. Our DUI defense attorneys at Sevens Legal have more than 40 years of combined DUI and criminal defense experience, and we understand the various penalties associated with San Diego DUI charges, including the installation of an interlock device. Whatever DUI charges you are facing, having an experienced DUI defense lawyer in your corner when facing a drunk driving arrest is the first step towards defending yourself against a damaging DUI charge or conviction. At Sevens Legal, our skilled DUI attorneys can help you get the best possible outcome in your case, whether that means getting the DUI charges dismissed, securing a reduction in the charges or minimizing the penalties of a DUI conviction, including driver’s license suspension and IID installation.
Contact a San Diego Ignition Interlock Lawyer Near Me
The consequences of a DUI conviction can be devastating for both you and your loved ones, possibly ruining your reputation, and causing you to lose your professional licensing, or even your job. You could also end up driving with an ignition interlock device in your car. If you have been arrested for DUI in San Diego and you want to know more about IID installation and whether it is the right option for you, or if you are facing charges for a probation violation because your IID registered alcohol in your breath sample, do not hesitate to protect your legal rights. Our DUI defense attorneys at Sevens Legal have experience handling all manner of DUI and DUI-related cases in San Diego and the surrounding areas, and we can help you get the best possible outcome in your case. Contact our reputable legal team today to improve your chances of beating the DUI charges, avoiding jail time and keeping your driving privileges intact.