If you are one of the many people in California who have been pulled over and subsequently arrested for suspected drunk driving, you may well be a bit afraid of how the event may impact your life. You likely know that some people who are convicted of a driving under the influence charge lose the right to drive for some period of time. The state does offer some people facing DUI charges a way to continue driving. This is through the use of an ignition interlock device.

As explained by Intoxalock, a manufacturer of IIDs, the ignition interlock device is comprised of a handheld unit that collects your breath sample and a microchip that is installed into your ignition. These elements work together to retain a lock on your vehicle’s ignition until you successfully pass a breath test measuring the alcohol level in your system. You must do this every time you want to start your vehicle.  

In addition to taking a breath test before you start your vehicle, you will be prompted at random times to take these tests while you are actively driving. This does seem at odds with the state’s laws against handheld use of electronic devices but is still part of the IID program.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give residents in California who have been arrested for a drunk driving charge an overview of how ignition interlock devices work and how the use of these devices may enable them to retain their driving privileges.