An Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is essentially a more compact breathalyzer that can be attached to your vehicle. The IID is designed to prevent an individual from starting his or her car without providing a breath sample that contains no trace of alcohol. Sometimes, the IID will be a required punishment for a DUI. This punishment is being implemented more frequently in California DUI cases. The following information will provide you with an overview regarding the IID’s and instances where an IID will be required to be installed. If you have any unanswered questions after reading this article, we encourage you to call the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm to consult with one of our experienced DUI attorneys.

Contact our office today at 949-377-2280 for your FREE initial consultation.

The Ignition Interlock Device

As stated above, the IID is a small breathalyzer that can be installed in your car. If your DUI punishment requires you to install an IID, you will have to have an IID installed in every car you own. Also, the defendant will assume the expenses of installing and maintaining the IID. If you are required to install an IID in your vehicle, the IID will require you to get it serviced every 60 days.

Before turning your vehicle’s ignition, you will need to provide a breath sample that has no trace of alcohol in it. If you fail to do so, the car will not start. Also, you will be prompted to provide additional breath samples throughout your entire drive. When being prompted for these additional samples, the IID will provide you with ample time to pull the car over and provide the additional sample in a safe manner.

Failing to provide an alcohol free breath sample for these additional tests will not result in your car turning off. However, it will record that you failed one of these tests and will be reported to the court.

Many people believe that they can fool the IID and have a sober individual provide an alcohol free breath sample to start the car. However, the IID’s are designed to prevent individuals from doing so. As previously stated, the IID requires an initial breath test to start the car and additional breath samples to be provided. The wires on the IIDs are not long and are designed to make it difficult/ impossible for a passenger to be the ones providing the additional breath samples. Further, the law in California has made it a punishable offense to have another individual provide the additional breath samples.

In addition to recording your breath sample, the IID will also register any attempts to tamper with, or remove the device, as well as every time the car is started and stopped.

Ignition Interlock Device As A DUI Punishment

Through the judge’s discretion, the installation of an IID can be required as a punishment resulting from a conviction of DUI, or a related offense. This includes a regular DUI, DUI on a suspended driver’s license, or DUI involving injury, among others.

While IID’s are handed down at the judge’s discretion, for a first time DUI, the judge will usually only require an IID to be installed if the offender refused a breath or blood test after being arrested, or if the offender’s BAC was .15% or higher.

As will be stated below, there are circumstances where the installment of an IID will be a required punishment.

Pilot Program Of Ignition Interlock Device

In 2010, the state of California began running an IID “pilot program.” The program was implemented to require an IID installation for a first offense DUI in certain counties. Orange County is not one of the counties on the program. The few counties participating in this program include:

  • Sacramento County
  • Los Angeles County
  • Tulare County
  • Alameda County

If an individual is convicted of DUI in any of these counties, the court will require the individual to install an IID in his or her vehicle for a period of 5 months. If the DUI is one where the individual charged with DUI caused an injury, the court will require the individual to install an IID for a period of 1 year.

The program was enacted to reduce the DUI offenses in California, as well as deaths and injuries resulting from DUI incidents. If the program proves to be successful, the program will be implemented throughout the entire state of California.

Repeat Offenders And The Ignition Interlock Device Pilot Program

The counties participating in the pilot program also have punishment requirements for repeat offenders. The punishments repeat offenders face, are more serious than the punishments for a first offender. Those punishments are:

  • Second Offense Conviction: Installation of an IID required for a 1-year period;
  • Third Offense Conviction: Installation of an IID required for a 2-year period;
  • Fourth Offense Conviction: Installation of an IID required for a 3-year period.

If the DUI causes an injury to another, the IID will be installed for a longer period of time.

As of now, these required punishments are only handed down in the counties where the program is active. If this program deters DUIs successfully, the programs punishments will be required punishments across the entire state.

Mandatory Sentences And Ignition Interlock Device

Driving On A Suspended License

If a DUI conviction resulted in your driver’s license being suspended or revoked, and you are subsequently convicted of driving on a suspended or revoked license, then you could be required to install an IID. Depending on the specifics of the case, the judge can require the IID to be installed for a period anywhere from 1 to 3 years.

Restricted Licenses

In certain case, after an individual is convicted of DUI, or a related offense, the DMV could issue you a restricted license. Usually, the restricted license only allows the recipient of the license to drive to and from school, work, and/ or DUI education classes. Often, when an individual is issued a restricted license, the individual is also required to install an IID for the duration the individual has the restricted license.

Expenses Of Installing/ Maintaining An IID In California

The cost of installing the IID varies on who is installing the IID. Usually, the installation of an IID will cost $100. It is important to remember that, the device needs to be serviced every 60 days. Thus, it will cost about $2.50 a day for the entire time the IID is installed in your vehicle.

In certain pilot program cases, if the court requires you to install an IID in your vehicle but you cannot afford the expenses, the court may assume some of the necessary expenses for the installation and maintenance.

Locating An Ignition Interlock Device Installer

As stated above, if you are ordered to install an IID, a court-approved installer must do it. There are various companies with multiple locations that are court-approved. These companies are:

  • Sens-O-Lock;
  • Intoxalock;
  • Smart Start of California;
  • Alcohol Detection Systems; and
  • Guardian Interlock.

More information can be acquired from the companies’ websites.

Accuracy Of An Ignition Interlock Device

If you have read the article on this website about DUI breath tests, then you know how inaccurate breathalyzers can be. Although IIDs are usually accurate, there have been cases where the IIDs result in a false positive. Unlike a regular DUI, an IID requires that your breath sample contain no trace of alcohol. There are household products, like mouthwash, that contain alcohol that would be registered as alcohol by an IID. Since samples that contain alcohol are recorded and reported to the court, individuals are usually worried about false positive results. However, if the sample only registers a small trace of alcohol, you will be allowed to give another sample. Usually, if you did not consume any alcohol, the time in between the initial test and the retake will allow the small trace of alcohol to disappear from your breath.


There has been a steady increase of DUI cases requiring the installation of IIDs in Orange County. Particularly, the cases that require the installation of an IID are those involving the offender’s BAC being above .15%, second offense DUIs, or DUI cases that involve an accident. The IID is a small breathalyzer that is installed to the ignition of a car. The vehicle will not start if the operator blows into it and has any trace of alcohol in the sample. This prevents a person under the influence from getting behind the wheel of his or her vehicle.

How The IID Works

If you have been ordered to install an IID by a judge, a court-approved company must install the IID in every vehicle you own. Prior to using your vehicle, you must blow an alcohol free breath sample into the IID. If there is any trace of alcohol in the breath sample you provide, the car will not start and the IID will record this breath sample into is memory. As you are driving, the IID will require additional breath samples to make sure you are not drinking and driving. The IID will allow you reasonable time to pull over and provide the additional breath tests safely. If you fail any of these additional tests, the car will continue to run, however, the failing breath tests will be recorded and reported to the court.

The IID is specifically designed to prohibit anyone, other than the driver, to be able to provide the breath samples. This is regulated by the IID requiring that the person required to install the IID provide the breath sample in a particular breath pattern. Wires that are not long enough to allow a passenger to access the IID attach the IID.

It has also been made a crime for anyone who is required to install an IID to ask another to provide a breath sample in place of his or her own. The IID will also record any attempt to disconnect or alter the device. The technology in the IID will ensure that the breath test is limited to errors due to cigarette smoke, perfume, and other factors. Unlike a regular breathalyzer, if any alcohol is present in the breath sample, the sample will be recorded as a failing sample. A failing sample can be triggered by household products, such as mouthwash, or any other containing alcohol. If you provide a failing breath sample, you will have the chance to resubmit a breath test almost immediately.

When IIDs Might Be Required

Using his or her discretion, the judge can order the installation of a California IID for any violation related to DUI, including the following offenses:

  • Driving under the influence (VC23152(a))
  • Operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08% or greater (VC23152(b))
  • DUI causing injury (VC23153)
  • Driving on a suspended or revoked license resulting from a previous DUI (VC14601)

Courts have the discretion to order the defendant to have an IID installed in his or her car for up to 3 years. Often, this can be the case if the offense is a first time DUI with a BAC of .15% or higher, and/ or the offender refuses a breath or blood test after being arrested.

The Costs Associated With An IID

The costs associated with an IID will differ depending on the type of device installed, as well as the maintenance of the device. Usually, the cost of an IID in California is $2.50 a day. The installation generally costs anywhere from $75-$150. Also, there may be additional expenses for reporting failing samples, maintenance, and calibration of the IID.

Our Attorneys At The Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm Are Skilled And Have The Experience To Provide You With The Best Representation In Your Case. Contact Our Office Today For A Free DUI Consultation

The experienced DUI attorneys at the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm will be by your side at every stage of your DUI case. Our attorneys specialize in DUI cases and are proud to serve clients in all communities within Orange County.

Call the Orange County DUI attorney law firm today at 949-377-2280 for your free initial consultation.