The Future of California DUI Penalties
In California, certain DUI offenders are required to install ignition interlock devices in the cars they own or drive. These devices prohibit drivers from starting their car without first providing a breath sample with no detectable alcohol in it. The devices are expensive and inconvenient, but they inarguably cut down on subsequent DUI offenses. Because of this, California relies on them as an effective penalty for DUI convictions.
Currently, only DUI defendants in select counties are required to install an IID in their car for a first-time DUI conviction. Judges can order defendants convicted in any other county to do the same, but it isn't mandatory. Recent changes in California DUI law, however, are set to change this penalty in the future. California's forthcoming amended law on IIDs will require all those convicted of a DUI in California to install an IID in their car, even for a first offense. Let's look at the specifics of this law and what it will mean for future DUI offenders in the coming years.
The current IID law requires only defendants who are convicted in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare counties to install an IID in their car. It doesn't matter where the defendant's residence is. For example, if a defendant lived in Tulare County but was convicted in Kern County, he or she would not necessarily be ordered to install an IID. Conversely, if a defendant lived in Kern County but was convicted in Tulare County, he or she would be ordered to install an IID in any car he or she drives or owns. At the judge's discretion, defendants convicted in other California counties can, but won't necessarily, be ordered to install an IID.
The counties listed above are part of the Ignition Interlock Pilot Program, which was implemented in 2010 and has been extended through 2017. Under California's amended DUI law, the pilot program has been extended and will continue in effect through 2019. Due to the success of the pilot program, determined in part by lower instances of repeat offenses, the program will eventually widen to include defendants convicted in any California county. This change is set to commence in 2019 and is planned to continue through 2026, but these effective dates may be subject to change. Once the pilot program extends to all California counties, all DUI offenders convicted in California will be ordered to install an IID in any car they own or drive, regardless of where they live or where they were convicted.
Installing an IID in your car will come at a cost to you and will inconvenience you for at least five months. It can also be embarrassing, especially if you need to notify your employer of the requirement or if you share a car with someone else. Regardless if you own the car or not, if you regularly drive it you will need to install an IID in it. There are very few exceptions to this rule. That being said, you should heavily consider the penalties you could face when being charged with a DUI. A DUI conviction will result in many long-term consequences that can be expensive, time-consuming and inconvenient for months or even years to come.
If you are facing DUI charges, consult with an experienced California DUI defense attorney. An attorney knowledgeable on California's DUI laws can advise you of what your charges will mean for you and the penalties the court can impose. Once you have this knowledge, you can make informed decisions about how to proceed in your case. You do have options, and pleading guilty isn't necessarily the best choice. Speak with an attorney today to discuss your case and your options so you can make strategic moves to defend your innocence and your rights.
If you are in the Visalia, Hanford or Tulare area and have questions about your rights, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens is here to help you. California criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens will work hard to defend your rights and help you fight any charges you may face. Attorney Martens has handled thousands of cases over a span of ten years of criminal defense practice and can fight hard for your rights in court. Contact attorney Christopher Martens for experienced criminal defense counsel today. Contact our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at MartensL[email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.