Guilty of DUI? Ignition interlock devices coming to California?

One of the worst experiences a person may have is to be accused and then convicted of drinking and driving. A DUI conviction not only carries a social stigma with it, but it can also affect many aspects of daily life. In fact, individuals convicted of driving under the influence in California might soon have to prove their sobriety before their automobiles will start.

Four counties in California already have a program in place that requires those convicted of DUI to blow into a tube in order to prove that they are sober before operating a motor vehicle. However, a proposed law in the state will require anyone convicted of DUI in our state to install an ignition interlock devices in their vehicle for half a year after the first offense and a full year following a second conviction. These interlock devices essentially are Breathalyzer tests connected to the ignition of a vehicle.

A driver has to breathe into the IID before his or her car engine will start. If the interlock device registers a level of blood alcohol above an established limit, the vehicle will not run. The offender would be required to pay for installing and leasing the device; installation costs about $100, while leasing it is estimated to cost between $50 and $100 per month.

Fortunately, just because a person has been charged with DUI does not mean he or she is automatically guilty. By law, the individual is presumed innocent unless and until prosecutors can prove in court that he or she is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Only then will a conviction be handed down. It is within the rights of any person charged with driving under the influence to aggressively defend against the accusations while seeking a result that is favorable to his or her individual interests.

Source: sfgate.com, "Ignition locks proposed to curb state's drunken drivers", Marisa Lagos and Hamed Aleaziz, Dec. 26, 2014

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