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New California Bill to Implement Ignition Interlock Devices

Posted by Seth Chazin | Oct 23, 2016 | 0 Comments

Those convicted of driving under the influence for the first time in California will face driving restrictions for a year—unless they agree to install breathalyzers in their vehicles to ensure sobriety. This new law SB1046, which was signed by Governor Jerry Brown, kicks in statewide on January 1, 2019 and sunsets on January 1, 2026.

When the new law goes into effect, first-time offenders will be restricted to driving only to work and back if they do not agree to install the devices in their vehicles. Drivers with first time offenses (Ca Vehicle Code 23152 (a-b)) that caused injury would automatically get ignition devices, as would repeat offenders under the new law. Second offenders face one-year ignition locks, three- time offenders have two year requirements, and anyone with more offenses after that receives a mandatory three years of ignition monitoring.

The ignition devices cost anywhere from $70 to $150 to install and up to $80 a month to monitor.

Supporters believe that this new law can help save lives.   

The device is a bit larger than a cell phone and is wired to the vehicle's ignition and requires a breath with a blood alcohol level of no more than 0.03 percent to start the engine. Drivers must continue to provide samples on the road to make sure they are not consuming alcohol throughout the trip. This ignition device only monitors alcohol and not drug use.

The California DMV released a study that claims that participants who used the ignition devices were less likely to obtain another DUI than those who do not use the device.

The problem with this law is that the cost is prohibitive for many of those subject to these restrictions.  If such a law is going to be in effect, better safeguards to assist those financially unable to pay for these devices must be put into place.

Further Reading:

New law allows DUI first offenders ignition interlock option

About the Author

Seth Chazin

Seth P. Chazin has aggressively defended clients in thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases for over 30 years. He has extensive experience representing criminal defendants in federal and state court, while handling both state and federal appeals as well.


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“The death penalty is a lie, a misguided mistake born of anger and frustration. Capital punishment has become a perverse monument to inequality, to how some lives matter and others do not. It is a violent example of how we protect and value the rich and abandon and devalue the poor. The death penalty is a grim, disturbing shadow formed by the legacy of racial apartheid and bias against the poor that condemns the disfavored among us, but corrupts us all. It’s the perverse symbol elected officials use to strengthen their ‘tough on crime’ reputations and distract us from confronting the causes of violence. It is finally the enemy of grace, redemption and all of us who recognize that each person is more than their worse act.”
- Bryan Stevenson