Eight months ago California lawmakers enacted legislation requiring all DUI offenders to have an ignition interlock device placed in their vehicles. It was just one move to further penalize drunk drivers in hopes of making roadways safer and appeasing political cries for tough-on-crime measures related to DUI offenders. But, according to a piece published this week in The Sacramento Bee, the measure might not be working as well as anticipated.
Between July 2010 and February 2011 only one out of ten DUI offenders has had an ignition interlock device installed. In four populous counties (Sacramento, Los Angeles, Alameda, and Tulare), there were 13,288 people convicted of DUI but only 1,335 ignition interlock devices installed.
While DMV officials caution against judging the effectiveness of the law just yet, others are wondering how many DUI offenders are on the roadways illegally, without the required device.
The DMV is correct in that many people convicted of DUI lose their license for a time, making an ignition interlock device not yet appropriate. However, they fail to recognize the truth of the matter which is, many of these people may continue to drive regardless.
Having your driving privileges suspended can have a seriously negative impact on your quality of life. Many people simply can’t find rides for every single venture they need to leave the house for, including work. So, many drive without a license. And, if they have successfully driven without a valid license, there’s a good chance they will avoid getting the ignition interlock device as well.
The Assemblyman who wrote the law, Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) is concerned about the numbers and will be meeting with DMV and other state officials in coming weeks to see if changes need to occur.
Ignition Interlock Devices are best described as a breathalyzer connected to your car’s ignition system. If you can’t pass a breath test, your car won’t start. Wrought with technical malfunctions and false positives, these machines can be a hassle to say the least. And they can prevent a person from holding a job, if driving a company vehicle is a requirement.
DUI charges seem to carry more serious penalties with every year that passes. A first-time DUI offense carries a mandatory 48 hours in jail, DUI school, license suspension, fines and costs, and a potential 3 to 5 years court probation. All of this is in addition to the aforementioned ignition interlock device if you are unfortunate enough to live in one of the four counties.
If you’re facing DUI charges, you need an advocate in the court system. We may be able to help. Contact our local California defense attorneys today for a free consultation on your case.