California’s Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed two laws that will mandate drivers convicted of driving under the influence to install ignition lock devices that prevent vehicles from starting if alcohol is detected in the driver’s breath. According to a news report, the bill written by Assemblyman Mike Feuer is a pilot project that will be tested in several California counties including Los Angeles. The bill will basically require that even first time DUI offenders must install these devices on their vehicles. Another bill, authored by Senator Bob Huff, will allow repeat DUI offenders to apply for restricted licenses if they install these ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.
While opponents question the effectiveness of these devices, advocates believe that the devices could cut down on repeat DUI offenses in California by 64 percent. New Mexico was the first state to enact such as law in 2003. In that state, the number of alcohol-related fatal crashes has dropped by 22 percent between 2002 and 2007.
The requirement to install these ignition lock devices further escalates the cost of drunk driving offenses. Typically, the DUI offender will be required to pay for installing the device. Installation costs usually range from $50 to $200. There is also a $50 to $100 monthly rental fee for the device. The offender will also be responsible for maintenance expenses as well as fees for downloading the data from the device. If you have one of these devices in your car, you will also be required to come in for scheduled appointments to have the ignition interlock device calibrated or to have the records downloaded and the device reset, so you can keep your driving privileges after a DUI conviction.
This is yet another reason why you should contact a skilled Los Angeles and Orange County DUI defense lawyer right away if you have been accused of a drunk driving offense. DUI laws are getting more and more stringent and you could be facing serious charges and hefty financial penalties, even if it is only your first DUI conviction. If you are facing a DUI charge, please contact Sitkoff & Hanrahan at 866-430-8383 for a free consultation and evaluation of your Los Angeles and Orange County DUI case.