Many Californians are ordered to install an ignition interlock device in their car when they are convicted of a DUI. Ignition interlock devices, or IIDs, require the driver to blow a clean breath sample into a device that is connected to the ignition. The car will not start if the breath sample has any detectable amount of alcohol in it. But you can get a DUI even if you weren't drinking alcohol. You can get a DUI in California for driving under the influence of any substance. This includes illicit, prescription, and over the counter drugs. This is called a drugged DUI or drug DUI. You may be wondering if you will be ordered to install an Ignition Interlock Device in your car if you are convicted of a drug DUI. This is a great question because the cost and inconvenience of an IID are significant, and, if you are ordered to install one, there are very few exceptions.
The Ignition Interlock Device (IID) pilot program operates in four California counties: Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare. In these counties, all first-time DUI offenders are ordered to install an IID in any car they drive or own. The offender must pay for the cost of installing, renting, calibrating, and maintaining the device. Low-income applicants may get a reduced fee, depending on income. A certified installer must install the device. You must keep the device installed for five months after a first-time DUI offense, 12 months after a second DUI offense within ten years, 24 months after a third DUI offense in ten years, and 36 months after a fourth or subsequent DUI offense in ten years.
As stated above, there are very few exceptions to the IID law. You can only be exempted from the requirement if you:
- Don't own a vehicle (for example, if you only drive a motorcycle)
- No longer have access to a vehicle where you live
- No longer have access to the vehicle you were driving at the time of your DUI arrest
If you drive an employer-owned vehicle, you may get an exception for that as well. Getting a DUI for driving under the influence of a drug instead of alcohol will not, in and of itself, relieve you of the IID requirement if you are convicted in a county participating in the IID pilot program. For convictions in all other counties, the judge may use his or her discretion when ordering offenders to install an IID. That being said, you may not be ordered to install an IID in your car if you were caught driving while under the influence of drugs. You should still consult with an attorney if this requirement is of particular concern to you. An attorney can help you make sure you are not unfairly sentenced or given a requirement that does not fit the crime. Don't expect to avoid any of the other standard California DUI penalties when you get a drug DUI, such as:
- A fine plus penalty assessments
- Drug and alcohol school
- Jail time
- Suspended license
These requirements are standard across the board. If you are facing DUI charges for a drugged DUI, consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney right away. California DUI law is complex and drugged DUI cases can present additional challenges. In some cases, an officer's observations will be all that is held against you. In others, there may be drug test results available to back those observations up. No matter the case, a skilled DUI attorney will be able to evaluate the facts and evidence in your case and help you defend yourself against them. It is a false belief that all DUI offenders are convicted. This is not the case. Many people charged with DUIs are never convicted, and often it is a result of having quality legal counsel. Especially when it comes to drugged DUIs, you need a good attorney who has sufficient experience defending DUI offenders in California. A good attorney may be able to challenge the officer's observations that may be the main body of evidence in the case. If successfully challenged, you may avoid a conviction.
If you are in the Tulare, Fresno or Kings County area and have questions about the consequences of a drug DUI, call experienced DUI defense attorney Christopher Martens today for expert counsel. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we can help you face your charges with confidence. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, attorney Martens is ready to defend your rights. Contact our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at MartensL[email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.