California considering ignition interlock devices for first-time DUI?

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California considering ignition interlock devices for first-time DUI?

Many states across the country require that motorists convicted of DUI install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. These devices prevent the vehicle from starting if any alcohol is detected on the motorist’s breath. Many interlocks also perform roving checks, so that the motorist will continue to breathe into the device at various times in order to continue operation of the vehicle.

A pilot program in four California counties required interlock devices for first-time offenders, and officials feel the program has had great success in keeping drunk drivers off of the road. As the program nears its end, legislators want to expand the practice statewide, and have introduced a new bill that would require interlocks for all DUI convictions in California.

The law, if passed, would require that motorists keep the interlocks in their vehicles for six months after a first offense. (Certain factors, such as a high blood-alcohol content, could increase the amount of time the devices must remain in the vehicle.) Repeat offenders could be required to have the devices for as long as three years.

Motorists need to know that this would be a significant change in the punishments for a DUI conviction. All of the costs associated with the devices, including installation and monthly monitoring charges, would be the responsibility of the motorist. It can cost at least $100 to install the devices, and an additional $50 in monthly fees.

If you are facing DUI charges

You need to remember that police and prosecutors are preparing their case the moment you are arrested. Everything that you do and say will be preserved to use against you if your case ends up going to trial. You do have rights in this situation, but you need to take action to preserve the defense options that will be available to you.

You should request to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. Talk an attorney before you talk to law enforcement about your case. Your lawyer will ensure that you are able to protect your rights throughout the process.