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What you need to know about ignition interlock devices


If you plead guilty to or are convicted of a DUI in Los Angeles County, you’ll likely face an extended suspension of your driving privileges unless you agree to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your vehicle. You may find the idea of having to use one of these devices somewhat embarrassing -– not to mention troublesome to manage and an unwanted expense.

However, an IID can let you continue to drive on a restricted license, which is important if you drive yourself to work. It can also save you from another DUI — and maybe save your life.

How an IID works

An IID is essentially a Breathalyzer-type device that’s connected to your ignition. You have to blow in to it to show that there’s no alcohol on your breath before your car will start.

You will also be required to blow into it periodically as prompted while you’re driving to ensure that you’re not consuming alcohol once you get the car started. (It’s best to pull over somewhere safe and leave the engine on while you do this.) If you don’t submit to these “rolling retests” or if fail one, the car will stop.

Each month, you’ll be required to take your vehicle to the service location where the IID was installed. They’ll upload the test records from the device and submit them to your probation officer and/or the DMV.

Following the rules is essential

If you have an IID installed, it’s crucial that you fully understand the instructions for using it, exactly how it operates and the rules you need to follow. If you fail to comply with those rules or try to tamper with the device or bypass the test, you’ll face more legal problems and lose your license for an extended period.

These devices are more complex than people realize. Many IIDs have cameras, so if a driver has their child or someone else do the test for them, they risk getting caught. A few pieces of gum or a swig of mouthwash isn’t going to fool it, either.

If you’ve been arrested for DUI, you need to retain an experienced attorney who can review the evidence and possibly get the charges dismissed or reduced. They can protect your rights and make sure you know all of your options. The sooner you get legal assistance, the better after an arrest for drunk driving.

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