New California DUI Laws In 2010

California is tightening the screws on drunk driving offenses on July 1, 2010.  Drivers who are caught operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol face two new laws that pertain to the installation of ignition interlock devices, and restricted license requirements.  These new regulations even apply to first time offenders.

California is tightening the screws on drunk driving offenses on July 1, 2010.  Drivers who are caught operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol face two new laws that pertain to the installation of ignition interlock devices, and restricted license requirements.  These new regulations even apply to first time offenders.  The goal of the new laws is two-fold: to act as a deterrent to those who might not take a DUI charge seriously, and to act as a safety precaution to guard the public against those who have already been found guilty of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

Going into effect on July 1, 2010 (AB-91), the first new law pertains to the required installation of ignition interlock devices, also known as IIDs.  An ignition interlock device is a small breathalyzer unit installed on the steering column of a car that prevents a driver from operating a vehicle until an alcohol-free breath sample is provided.  While driving, the IID will require random samples between 5 and 15 minutes after driving.  When the IID asks for a “rolling sample” the driver will have 6 minutes to provide that sample.  If the sample is not alcohol free or not provided within 6 minutes, then a “fail” will be registered on the log.  The new law will require any driver convicted of a drunk driving offense, even a first time offender, to install an IID in each vehicle he or she owns or operates for a five month period.  If the DUI involved an injury to another party, the IID will be required for one year.  Those that have a prior DUI conviction within 10 years will be required to install the IID for one year.  If the driver has two priors within a 10 year period, then IID will be ordered for a two year period.  As the law currently stands, there is no law requiring the judge to order the installation of the IID; however, it may be requested by the District Attorney’s Office as a term of a negotiated plea.

The new law requiring the installation of IIDs is a “pilot program” that will only take place in the following counties: Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare.  If the program is proven effective then it will extend statewide.

The second new law (SB-598) also goes into effect on July 1, 2010 and pertains to the California restricted driver’s licenses issued after a DUI arrest.  A restricted license allows a licensee to drive to and from work, during the course of work, and to and from an alcohol education program.  Any and all other driving privileges are suspended.   Under the new law, the California DMV is required to inform a person charged with a second DUI that a restricted license may be obtained after a 90-day license suspension.   Likewise, the California DMV must inform a third-time offender that a restricted license could be available after a 6-month suspension of all driving privileges.   To qualify for a restricted license, the driver is required to do the following:

  1. Enroll in a Court approved DUI Program
  2. Install and maintain an ignition interlock devise on all owned or operated vehicles
  3. Provide a proof of financial responsibility form (SR-22)
  4. Pay for any applicable fees, including reinstatement, reissue and restriction fees

For additional information regarding ignition interlock devices and the new laws, contact Attorney Kellee Parker, the DUI Professor.  The DUI Professor will help you understand the process and protect your rights.  Call the DUI Professor today for a free consultation!