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New law expands ignition interlock device requirements statewide

Among the new state laws taking effect on New Year's Day is one that could impact many Californians whose New Year's Eve festivities include a couple (or more) glasses of champagne.

Beginning on Jan. 1, anyone convicted of a second or subsequent DUI will be required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in their vehicles. Drivers convicted of their first DUI will have to install one if that DUI resulted in an injury.

Further, courts will have the discretion to mandate an IID for first-time DUI offenders even if no injuries resulted from their drunk driving. In that case, an IID can be mandated for up to six months. Time periods for others run from 12 through 48 months.

The law applies to those convicted of DUIs involving alcohol. It's not applicable to those whose DUIs involve drugs only.

For Los Angeles County residents, an IID requirement is nothing new. LA County and several other counties throughout the state have already mandated IIDs for those convicted of DUIs through a pilot program. However, that mandate will now be a statewide one.

According to one company that manufactures these devices, LifeSaver, the devices have prevented some 6,000 people in LA County alone from driving under the influence in the past four years. That's just the number of people who registered a blood alcohol level above the legal limit when they blew into a LifeSaver IID before starting their car.

If you're required to have an IID installed, it's essential to understand how it works and the regulations that come with it. Violating them is only going to land you in more trouble with the law. If you have questions, your attorney can help you. While IIDs can be costly, inconvenient and embarrassing, they can also save your life.

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