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Mandatory Ignition Interlock is Coming to Los Angeles County

July 1, 2010 is the beginning of a pilot project in Los Angeles County where every person convicted of DUI will be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. For those of you who don’t know what an ignition interlock device is, it is a machine, installed into your car that you have to blow into in order to start and keep driving your car down the road. If the machine reads blood alcohol you will not be able to start or keep driving your car.

No problem you say, I can just not drink before I drive. The problem is that this machine costs hundreds of dollars to install and keep calibrated in your car. This is before we factor in the potential embarrassment of having someone else see it in your car. So now, if you are convicted of DUI in Los Angeles County, on top of the fine, the alcohol program, the license suspension and the probation period, you have to pay for and maintain an ignition interlock device in your car.

I say, let’s just set every case for trial. The criminal justice system in Los Angeles County will be taken to its knees if every lawyer on every DUI sets his or her case for trial out of protest to this new law.

Presently, the law allows for requiring installation of the ignition interlock device in certain aggravated or multi-offender cases. This seems appropriate to me. However, a blanket policy of requiring the interlock device in every single DUI conviction seems truly arbitrary and capricious. Let’s get together and tell the legislature that we simply won’t stand for this new law.

If you have questions about DUI laws, contact me.