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Convicted DUI offenders may soon see ignition interlock devices

Are ignition interlock devices coming to California? If a local lawmaker gets his way, they could be. Currently, four counties across the state are running pilot programs for this type of device, but at this time, state laws do not require its use. As some believe current DUI laws are too light, it is believed that adding this device to the mix could help strengthen the laws and work to deter drunk driving in general.

Approximately 1,000 people in California are killed in DUI-related car accidents yearly, and another 20,000 are injured. With numbers like this, Senator Jerry Hill would like to see harsher penalties on the books for DUI convictions. He is suggesting that a device used in at least 24 other states be considered for use in California. This device is called an ignition interlock device or mini-Breathalyzer device.

This small machine would be installed on an offender's vehicle as early as their first offense. In order for a person to operate his or her vehicle, he or she would be required to submit a breath sample. If alcohol is detected, the car will not be able start. This is a device offenders would be required to pay for out of their own pocket.

If this change to California DUI laws does pass, those accused of drunk driving will have one more thing to fight in court. These devices, while certainly serve a valuable purpose, are not error free and can have an impact on a person's personal and professional life. A variety of defense strategies may be utilized to not only fight any accusations of impaired driving, but to also seek alternative sentencing -– including avoiding this type of device -- if a conviction is ultimately obtained by prosecutors.

Source: CBS SF Bay Area, "CA Lawmaker Wants To Put Breathalyzers Inside DUI Offenders' Cars", Dec. 27, 2014

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Former Criminal Prosecutor With Proven Results