Ignition Interlock in California

In California, the need for an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is pivotal for several reasons: Firstly, it's a legal requirement under the California Vehicle Code for certain motor vehicle offenders, ensuring compliance with traffic safety regulations. The California DMV mandates the use of IIDs as part of the IID restriction for drivers who've violated specific driving laws, thereby safeguarding driving privileges while promoting road safety.

Furthermore, adherence to the Ignition Interlock device requirement is essential for California drivers seeking to maintain their license status, especially after DUI-related offenses. Law firms often advise their clients on the necessity of installing an IID to comply with these legal stipulations. Lastly, the implementation of IIDs aligns with broader traffic safety goals, helping to reduce repeat offenses and enhancing overall road safety for all California drivers.

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Why Choose Smart Start In California?

Smart Start has helped thousands of drivers in California get back on the road since 1992.

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How Do I Get My License Back in California?

Review our Smart Start resources below, including the step-by-step guide to help you get your license back quickly.

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California Ignition Interlock Laws

On January 1, 2019, California passed Senate Bill 1046, which requires Ignition Interlock Devices for all DUI cases. The law allows those with a license suspension under the Administrative Per Se law to have Ignition Interlock-restricted driving privileges and receive credit toward a required Ignition Interlock restriction period if one is later convicted of a DUI. Individuals arrested for DUI can avoid the 30-day hard suspension if they immediately apply for an Ignition Interlock through the California DMV at 916-657-6525.

Under California law, individuals who face a suspension under the Administrative Per Se law due to a DUI can obtain a driving privilege restricted to the use of an Ignition Interlock device (IID). This allows them to receive credit towards their mandated IID restriction period if they are subsequently convicted of a DUI. These provisions specifically address DUI violations involving alcohol or the combined use of alcohol and drugs but do not extend to DUI offenses involving only drugs.

Courts have the authority to order a non-injury first DUI offender to install a certified Ignition Interlock device (IID) for up to 6 months following a DUI conviction. If not mandated by the court, these offenders may opt for a driver’s license with IID restrictions or other limitations permitting travel to work and DUI treatment programs for 12 months.

This approach to DUI offenses offers an alternative to traditional penalties, reflecting a shift from the previous IID pilot program limited to select counties. Law firms often advise clients on these nuances post-DUI arrest, ensuring that DUI offenders in California are aware of their legal options and requirements.

Below is a typical range regarding how long you’ll need an Ignition Interlock Device in California depending on your individual case circumstances. Your Ignition Interlock period can be longer if any injury is involved.

  • First DUI: Ignition Interlock requirement period: between six months to 12 months
  • Second DUI: Ignition Interlock requirement period: between 12 to 24 months
  • Third DUI: Ignition Interlock requirement period: 24 to 48 months
  • Fourth DUI or More: Ignition Interlock requirement period: 36 to 48 months

For first-time offenders and repeat DUI offenders, your license will be confiscated immediately per California’s Administrative License Revocation (ALR) if:

  • Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level was .01 during DUI probation
  • Your BAC level was .04 while driving a commercial vehicle
  • Your BAC level was .08 or higher while driving a noncommercial vehicle
  • You refused a breath test

In navigating the complexities of California DUI laws, it’s crucial to understand that based on your location, California courts may also require you to install and maintain an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on your vehicle (depending on location). This is a vital aspect of California Interlock laws.  You’re required to pay for all costs associated with your California interlock device, from installation, monthly lease payments, service fees to removal.

You may also be required to attend a DUI or substance abuse court referral program, which is often integral to regaining a restricted license. Consulting with a specialized DUI lawyer or a reputable law office is highly recommended to navigate these legal requirements effectively and ensure compliance with the stringent DUI law in California. Their expertise can provide crucial guidance through this process, helping to mitigate the challenges associated with California DUI repercussions. 

The Importance of California Ignition Interlock Laws

  1. Mandatory for DUI Offenders: These laws require the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for individuals charged with a DUI, ensuring they comply with safe driving standards.
  2. Aligned with California Vehicle Code: The laws are in accordance with the California Vehicle Code, reinforcing legal requirements for DUI drivers.
  3. IID Restriction Compliance: Drivers must adhere to IID restrictions, promoting responsible driving behavior post-DUI charge.
  4. Support from Law Firms: Law offices often guide clients through the complexities of IID requirements, emphasizing the importance of legal compliance.
  5. California IID Requirements: The laws ensure that all DUI drivers in California meet the Ignition Interlock device requirement, a crucial step in maintaining public road safety.

How to Get Your License Quickly in California

  1. Contact the California DMV to enroll in a DUI program per your license suspension requirement.
  2. Complete the DMV Form 44 as part of the reinstatement process.
  3. Call your insurance provider to get proof of financial accountability such as an SR-22
  4. Resolve outstanding balances and pay all of your fines.
  5. Contact 1.800.831.3299 to schedule an appointment to have your interlock device installed with an approved Smart Start interlock service provider.
  6. Complete any pending court regulations.

DISCLAIMER: These steps may not be a complete representation of what you must do to regain your license. As DUI case details vary by each individual, please do not see this step-by-step guide as an official process to regaining your license, but rather as a starting point only.

How Much Does a DUI Cost in California?

DUI OffenseJail TimeFee
*IID fees not included
Suspended License Period
First96 hours to 6 months$390 to $1,0006 months
Second96 hours to 1 year$390 to $1,0002 years
Third30 days to 1 year$390 to $1,0003 years; 10 years if more than 3 DUI violations in a 10-year period
Fourth180 days to 1 year or up to 3 years in state penitentiary$390 to $1,0004 years; 10 years if more than 3 DUI violations in a 10-year period

*Additional fees, jail time, and suspension periods may apply.

For additional information and resources to help you regain your license in California, refer to these links:

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