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An Ignition Lock Device for All DUI Drivers?

Steven R. Andrade Jan. 19, 2015

Would you be in favor of putting an ignition locking device in the car of everyone who is convicted of drunk driving? The legislation is in the works to require an ignition interlock device to be installed in a vehicle for any person convicted of DUI, including first -time misdemeanor DUI cases.

A pilot program has already been launched in several counties. Currently, California lags behind 24 other states that have enacted similar laws. The goal is to shrink the number of injuries and deaths associated with drunk driving, but does this measure go to far?

The Pros

A CDC study issued in 2011 revealed that IIDs are 67 percent more effective than license suspension alone for preventing a repeat DUI offense. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the CDC, and AAA all recommend that every convicted DUI offender be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles.

MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) reports that an average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times prior to the first DUI arrest and 50 to–75 percent of drunk drivers continue to operate their vehicles with a suspended license. The installation of an IID will make it far less likely that the offender will be able to get behind the wheel and potentially cause an accident that could lead to serious or fatal injuries.

The Cons

IIDs also have problems, critics note. For instance, the device will restrict a driver from starting a vehicle after the use of mouthwash, which contains alcohol. They may register alcohol impairment incorrectly, creating problems for a sober, alcohol-free individual who may be merely trying to get to work. The device may improperly record this event and send a report to the probation officer. The individual can face serious legal repercussions, including revocation of probation and jail time, over that false positive.

Our Justice System and DUI: Your Right to Defend Against Charges

We'll watch this debate carefully to see how it plays out. In the meantime, you should know that under our justice system, you are innocent until proven guilty. Every person charged with DUI has the right to defend against the charge.

Here's one more concern we have. The breath testing devices used by police also have serious problems. A person may be arrested and charged with a DUI based on an incorrect breath test result. Faulty breath tests are not uncommon, and many people may have been wrongly convicted for DUI based on them.

You may have seen that thousands of DUI convictions were left open to post-conviction challenges due to a defective breathalyzer, the Intoxylizer 8000, used in many states, including California. It's not too hard to imagine a scenario where someone is wrongly convicted of DUI based on a false reading from a breath test. That person may then face the added sanction of the cost and installation of an IID that gives a false reading, leading to another unfair punishment.

Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer in Southern California

Any individual facing DUI charges should have a full case evaluation from an experienced DUI defense lawyer. At Andrade Law Offices in Santa Barbara, we have a passion for the law, and for justice. The firm has successfully defended thousands of DUI cases in Santa Barbara County. We are prepared to immediately discuss your case with you. You have a right to defend yourself. Call us today.