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Ignition Interlock Device and First DUI Offenders in Los Angeles


One of the ramifications of a first time DUI conviction in Los Angeles County is that the DMV will require proof of installation of an ignition interlock device in any vehicle owned or operated by the defendant. This device requires that the defendant blow into it with an alcohol-free breath sample before the vehicle will start. It will also require intermittent breath samples while the vehicle is running. This device is not required as part of the mandated minimum penalties for a first time DUI in most of California. Los Angeles County is part of a pilot program together with three other counties that require the device following conviction. It is a program which will probably be extended statewide, depending on the results of the pilot program. The device must be installed for a minimum period of five months and will result in the defendant being able to drive for any reason, not just for work.

When this program was initially started, I was of the opinion that defendants would have the option to submit to a license suspension for six months following a conviction for a DUI and thereby avoid the requirement to install the device. It appeared to me that the device was going to be required as a condition of early reinstatement at the election of the defendant if the defendant wished to drive legally immediately, rather than wait the suspension out. However, the pilot program does not address this, and the Mandatory Actions Unit of the DMV in Sacramento have informed me that the device is a mandatory requirement following conviction, even if the defendant waits out the period of suspension. This means that all defendants in Los Angeles County must install the device in their vehicles before they can ever reinstate their license following a conviction for a first offense.

If you have any questions concerning the DMV Ignition Interlock device pilot program in Los Angeles, please call Los Angeles DUI Lawyers Gold & Witham for a free consultation.