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Ignition Interlock Devices

A California driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) conviction can bring numerous consequences, including court fines, possible jail sentences, restricted driver's licenses, and, for multiple DUI offenders in California, the installation of an ignition interlock device. These are sophisticated systems that attach to a vehicle's ignition and measure alcohol concentration in the driver's breath.

Ignition interlock devices are designed to prevent drivers with a certain amount of alcohol in their systems from operating a vehicle. It is a small device attached to the steering column that requires the driver to blow into a handheld alcohol sensor unit.

California DUI laws calls for either discretionary or mandatory use of ignition interlock devices for repeat DUI offenders. A qualified California DUI defense lawyer can advise about the likelihood of an ignition interlock requirement in each individual case.

The vehicle will not start if the device registers a blood alcohol content (BAC) that exceeds a pre-set limit, typically .02 to .04 percent BAC. To prevent tampering, manufacturers of ignition interlock devices have created safeguards to ensure the system’s effectiveness. Ignition interlock devices are usually installed with shrink tape that reflects any tampering.

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Attorneys for the firm represent clients accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or driving with a blood alcohol level at or above the legal limit in San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Sonoma and Napa counties.

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Most ignition interlock devices document the times the device was removed from the vehicle’s power source, the date, time, and BAC recorded during each test, and any attempt by the user to bypass the system’s safeguards. Many devices require "rolling retests" - repeated testing at regular intervals while driving. This feature is designed to prevent the driver from having a sober individual start the vehicle so that the motorist can drive while intoxicated.

Ignition interlock devices provide numerous benefits to convicted DUI drivers, their families, and the public. These systems allow repeat DUI offenders to avoid vehicle impoundments and a complete suspension of driving privileges. The driver and others who use the vehicle can continue to travel to work, pick up children, and run errands. The community benefits if the driver is prevented from driving while intoxicated.

Studies have shown lower recidivism rates among California drivers who have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. Their use has spread rapidly across the country. As of 2004, 43 states have integrated ignition interlock devices into the DUI sentencing process.

Ignition interlock devices allow many California drivers convicted of multiple DUI to continue driving so long as they abstain from alcohol behind the wheel. A California criminal DUI defense lawyer who specializes in drunk driving defense can evaluate each driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) case to determine whether the technology is an appropriate alternative to a suspended driver's license.

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