New DUI Interlock Law

NEW DUI INTERLOCK LAW NOW IN EFFECT FOR ALAMEDA COUNTY

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Convictions for a DUI in Alameda County now require as part of the punishment the installation of an ignition interlock device, pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 23700.

California law recently established a pilot program in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare Counties whose stated purpose is to reduce the number of first time DUI violations.

Upon receipt of information from a sentencing court of a DUI conviction, the Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) shall require the driver to have a certified ignition interlock device installed for a particular time period.

Before a driver’s license may be reissued or returned to the person after a suspension or revocation of the person’s driving privilege, the driver first must do all the following:

1.  Arrange for each vehicle owned or operated by the person to be fitted with an ignition interlock device by a certified ignition interlock provider

2.  Notify the DMV and provide to the DMV proof of installation of the interlock device on the “Verification of Installation” form to be completed by the certified ignition interlock provider

3.  Pay a fee for reissuance

The DMV will place a restriction on the driver’s license record of the convicted person that states that the driver is restricted to driving only vehicles equipped with a certified ignition interlock device.  Please note: this restriction does not limit where or when the driver may drive.  For example, under other restricted licenses issued by the DMV, a person with a restricted license can only drive to and from work, during work for work related purposes, and to and from the DUI class.  In this pilot program case, however, the restriction does NOT prevent the driver from driving anywhere.  Instead, the driver may drive anywhere, so long as he or she has his or her vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device installed by a certified ignition interlock provider.

A driver, for example, a person convicted of first offense DUI in Alameda County, who is required to operate a motor vehicle with an ignition interlock device, must have the interlock device serviced every 60 days in order for the installer to recalibrate and monitor the operation of the device.

The installer shall notify the DMV if the interlock device is removed or discovers that the person attempted to remove, bypass or tamper with the interlock device.  Moreover, if the person fails three or more times to comply with a maintenance or calibration requirement, the installer must notify the DMV.

A DUI conviction of a violation of 23152(a) or (b) of the Vehicle Code requires an interlock device for a period of time between five months to 24 months.

A driver convicted of a first offense DUI, a violation of 23152(a) or (b) of the Vehicle Code, in the four pilot counties, including Alameda County, must keep the device installed in the vehicle for five months.  A person convicted of a second offense DUI, a violation of 23152(a) or (b) of the Vehicle Code, in one of the four pilot counties, such as Alameda County, must install an interlock device for 12 months.  A conviction of a third offense, a violation of 23152(a) or (b) of the Vehicle Code, in a pilot county, such as Alameda County, requires the installation of an interlock device for 24 months.  A fourth offense DUI conviction of a violation of 23152(a) or (b) of the Vehicle Code mandates a 24 month interlock device installation.

The law is much tougher for a conviction of a DUI with injuries, a violation of 23153(a) or (b) of the Vehicle Code.  A conviction for a conviction of a DUI with injuries, a violation of 23153(a) or (b) of the Vehicle Code, requires an interlock device between 12 and 48 months.

A driver convicted of a first offense DUI with injuries, a violation of 23153(a) or (b) of the Vehicle Code, in the four pilot counties, including Alameda County, must keep the device installed in the vehicle for 12months.  A person convicted of a second offense DUI with injuries, a violation of 23153(a) or (b) of the Vehicle Code, in one of the four pilot counties, such as Alameda County, must install an interlock device for 24 months.  A conviction of a third offense DUI with injuries, a violation of 23153(a) or (b) of the Vehicle Code, in a pilot county, such as Alameda County, requires the installation of an interlock device for 36 months.  A fourth offense DUI with injuries conviction of a violation of 23153(a) or (b) of the Vehicle Code mandates a 48 month interlock device installation.

A driver cannot “sit out” the period of time that the driver must have the interlock device installed.  That means that a driver cannot opt to not drive for example, the five months that the driver normally would have to have the interlock device installed if convicted of a first offense DUI (23152[a] or [b]).  If the driver elects not to drive for a period of time after which the driver is required to install the interlock device, upon the driver trying to obtain his or license in the future, the DMV will require that the driver nonetheless install the interlock device for the period of time required by law.  Example: Joe is convicted of a first offense DUI (23152[a] or [b]) in Alameda County in 2012.  Joe wins the lottery and hires a chauffeur to drive him everywhere.  In 2020, Joe decides that he nonetheless wants to drive.  Joe applies for his license back.  The DMV will require Joe to install the interlock device for the five month period.

The period of time during which the driver is required to install the interlock device begins when the driver provides proof of installation of the interlock device and upon restoration of the driving privilege pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 13352.

A person is exempt from installing an interlock device if within 30 days of the notification by the DMV of the requirement to install the interlock device the person certifies to the DMV all the following:

1.  The person does not own a vehicle

2. The person does not have access to a vehicle in his or her residence

3.  The person no longer has access to the vehicle that he or she drove when stopped/arrested/convicted for the DUI

4.  The person acknowledges that he or she is only allowed to drive a vehicle fitted with an ignition interlock device

5.  The person acknowledge that he or she is required to have a valid driver’s license before he or she can drive

6.  The person is subject to the interlock requirements when he or she purchases or has access to a vehicle (meaning, as described above, that the driver cannot “sit out” the interlock period by not driving).

If a person fails to comply with the interlock law, the mandatory term required will begin all the way back to the first day that it was required.  This means: if a person tampers with the interlock device in month three of the five month period, the DMV will start the period from day zero and require the person to complete the full five months from the beginning (and not give any credit for any time that the interlock device had previously been installed).

There is a sliding scale of pricing available to drivers required to install the interlock device.  The interlock device provider must reduce the price it charges a driver if the driver provides proof of income below certain federal levels.

Pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 23576, a person required to operate a motor vehicle with an interlock device does NOT have to install it in a vehicle used in the person’s job under certain conditions.

First, the vehicle must be owned by the person’s employer. Second, the person must have notified his or her employer that the person’s driving privilege has been restricted to require the use of an interlock device. Third, the person must carry in the company vehicle proof that the employer has been notified of the interlock requirement. If the person requiring the interlock device owns in whole or in part or controls the business employing the person, then the person is not exempt from the interlock requirement.

If you are arrested for a DUI in Alameda County, you will face DUI charges in Oakland, Fremont, Hayward or Pleasanton. Please contact a DUI lawyer who is knows how the law and how to get you the best outcome. Please contact DUI attorney Mark Blair at (510) 845-4343 for a free consultation.