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Ignition Locking Systems Arrests

Posted on Jul 29th, 2022 by mrnice 34 Views

In July of 2010 the California counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare are the four locales in California that practice the installation of a breath analyzer in any vehicle being driven by a person with a class C (non-commercial) drivers’ license suspended by a Driving Under the Influence conviction. In 12 years, the wrath of the public demand for safer driving has pushed most counties in California to similarly aligned punishments for offenders and for persons with commercial licenses face lower Blood Alcohol Content tolerance (BAC of .04 instead of .08) and more severe penalties.

General reckless driving is bad enough, but under the influence driving has contributed to so many highway incidents that “action” is being demanded. It’s the focus of a movement called Zero Tolerance and it is an all-encompassing campaign against blatant disregard of social responsibility.

DUI Arrests Requiring Ignition Locking Systems?

Anyone who has ever qualified as one of the definitions below should take heed of the current law holding a 0.08 BAC level as the legal limit for a standard class C license, a 0.04 for a commercial class license (even if driving a car), and any minor with or without ID must not be over 0.01 BAC:

- the sports fan or who drinks a beer while catching the show (or live at the game).

- the person who stops for a happy hour birthday celebration after work and toasts.

- the underage drinker who figures they won’t be prosecuted because they don’t have a license.

- the person who never drinks at home because it is not in their nature to drink alone.

- the wedding guest who wants one more champagne after the toast.

- the person who stayed at the scene of an accident and had a drink almost an hour before.

- the walking person who had a couple of drinks and is walking with a gas can.

- the person who had a couple of drinks using electronic unlock on their vehicle to get to the spare tire donut and jack.

- the teenager drinking and holding a set of keys to family car that is parked on the street.

- the person sleeping in their vehicle because they knew they could not drive.

- the person who bartends and got soaked by a spilled drink before driving home.

- a commercially licensed driver who took a sip (not even a full shot) of any fermented beverage.

Anyone with access to a vehicle and the capacity to drive can be “quizzed” by a law enforcement officer, behind the wheel or not. If they suspect you have been drinking, you may be tested for Blood Alcohol level and refusal can only complicate matters if you are later determined to have been operating a vehicle under the influence. Public Intoxication is a conviction for anyone over the legal BAC for their age and situation and it can receive a conviction and sentence. Law officers often check in on people with suspected car problems and while they cannot help you with a car problem (a jumpstart, for example) they are checking on your welfare. They can be prompted by the smell of alcohol on someone’s breath or body and after conversation they may elect to test your blood alcohol content. Again, your declining to take the test is not an admission of guilt, but if you decline and law enforcement sees enough cause to prove you did or had intent to operate a vehicle, the consequences of refusal will affect a conviction on a DUI.

An Ignition Interlock Device is a part of the mandatory minimum sentence for DUI and it is part of the license restoration process.

What things can subject you to a law enforcement check?

- Poor driving or swerving

- Driving too slowly or quickly in comparison to the flow of traffic

- Improper signaling or failing lights/braking lights

- Unregistered vehicle

- Excessive smoke

- Excessive noise

The law enforcement officer (city, sheriff, California Highway Patrol, Life Guard Patrol, State Park Ranger, etc.) may choose not to pursue you for a violation BUT in all cases they will run the existing vehicle tags through their computer. The guarantee that they will take action is based on whether the vehicle has been stolen or has unpaid citations or parking tickets. All of these little haunting issues surface in the form of warrants. Warrants from traffic issues are assigned to the registered of the vehicle that was sighted. Failure to appear for written violations that occurred in that or any vehicle will come up when your “license and registration please?” are answered.

Use the Mr. Nice Guy website or Phone App to check and see if you or someone you know has any warrants. Use it to help dispel your fears or confirm that you did forget to pay the court. Call Mr. Nice Guy 24/7 to get advice on clearing up those warrants.

Restricted Licenses

Technology has given us the magnetic strip that can near immediately provide current information about a driver. Now that almost every state has adopted a scannable driver’s license (magnetic strip) law enforcement can be made aware of any conditions applying to that person (warrants or arrests) and conditions of driving. A restricted license means that the individual may drive in specific conditions (e.g. going to work or home from work). Ignition Interlock devices are identified as a restriction on the license as well, and the person driving a vehicle not fitted with such a device is subject to re-arrest for violation of conditions of his restitution.

Here are some examples:

A person driving through Seal Beach with a broken tail-light and a restricted license showing an address in Santa Monica might have some difficulty explaining how Seal Beach was in drive path to their job at LAX. If your car is fitted with an Interlock and you started it the chances are good that you will not be charged with a DUI, just a broken tail light.

Your license says you are restricted to driving a vehicle with an Interlock device, you better have one in the car and you better be alone. If there’s a chance that you had someone like your passenger operate the ignition interlock by performing the required breathing tests (they occur at the start of the ignition and at intervals while driving) the officer might have you test on their BAC tester and the end result might very well be your arrest if you were cheating.

This answers the question “Why do Police Officers ask you to turn off your engine when they stop your car?”

Mr. Nice Guy answers the questions “What will it cost to get [fill in the blank] out of jail?” “How can I get out as soon as possible?” (844)-400-2245 and get those answers for your loved one or yourself.

Extra Cost to install Ignition Interlock Device

The installation of an ignition interlock device costs approximately $600 before any rebate and can only be performed by a State Approved Servicer (like a Smog Check). The modern equipment is controlled by wifi with each device having a signature and recording capacity to identify that the driver is alcohol-free (NOT like a Smog Check). There is a monthly “rental or lease” fee that goes along with the device that may be $40 to 60 dollars (also NOT like a Smog Check). Add these costs to the towing, court, legal, insurance, and possibly loss of livelihood (if you drive for a living) and it is a hefty sum for a first offense.

Truths About Ignition Interlock Devices

These devices have a very small footprint inside the vehicle. They consist of a hose and mouthpiece into which you blow air, a tiny windshield mount (gps/wifi antenna), a rearview mirror mount or interior roof/visor mounted camera, and a one page instruction manual that includes error codes and phone numbers. The car will not start until ANY DRIVER passes the breath analysis test. The device will test for the duration of the drive at random.

The developers of these products are competing in a market that may ultimately affect all vehicles on the road except for driver-less cars. Some countries have considered making these devices mandatory on all vehicle sales, and it is not too much of a stretch to think that it would be considered here in the U.S. They are including the features that anticipate the likely ways that people would try to cheat the device and have made their features reactive to those possibilities. The thought of leaving the car running while you go into an establishment to have a drink has crossed their minds, as well as stopping to by one (can or bottle) to drink on the way home. Stopping and idling tends to step-up the “randomness” of the re-test device. Oh yeah and tampering with the device will have it “self-terminate” and the car won’t start because the device won’t work, and you have to pay (did I mention about $600 before rebates) to have it re-installed.

My First Interlock Experience

It was 2010 and I met with several friends at a local diner for lunch. After lunch, one pal needed to get home and take his parents to the airport. Everyone went their separate ways, but as I started to pull out I heard a scream “I need your help,” my pal squawked, ride with me to my house, we’ll take my parents to the airport and I’ll bring you back to your car.” He had two beers.

I was doing nothing else that day so I agreed, counting my blessings that I was in Las Vegas and not LA. He had failed the breath test and the car was counting down for a retake of the test. “You have to blow into this for three seconds, inhale without taking your mouth off, and blow more.” I actually screwed up the first time, because it requires a constant stream of breath and it was fortunate that I had not drank anything. Once the car started I attempted to change to reverse …. wrong, it was a manual transmission.

I carefully kept the brake on and we changed positions in the car, a coordinated musical chairs with him being a foot taller than me. It involved backing up the seat, and holding the car still while in neutral. After going about four blocks, the device began to chirp. “Blow again” he yelled, handing me the hose for the test. (It was easy in the pre-COVID world, what was a bit of spit between friends.)

“Hey, what happens if I don’t blow?” I asked.

“Car comes to a stop. It’s the same as a FAIL.”

I was shocked and actually petrified at the thought of stalling out somewhere. I swore off ever going to Arizona as that was where he’d been jailed for three days, seen a judge, and had the device installed after his trial as part of the punishment. His PT Cruiser was never the same as the primitive ignition interlocks were a little more abrupt with pulling the plug on the car itself.

Mr. Nice Guy Bail Bonds advises that Bail is a faster way out of the immediate bind, but when it comes to DUI, no lock-up location in California or the immediate surrounding states will consider letting you out on your own recognizance (OR) until your blood alcohol drops to below 0.02. Therefore avoidance is the best way to reduce fines. If you have previous DUI experience, you will need all the money you can muster. You might be arrested on warrants (see our warrant lookup page on the web-site), but bail for those are usually pale compared to the full cost of dealing with a DUI.

My Last Interlock Experience

Yes, there’s more to this story but it can wait until it is truly finished. This is the story of an attempt to out-smart the device and legal system, and a tale of helpful “stupidity.” It is for sure a spin on the saying “cheaters never prosper”.

The fine print of the ignition interlock sentence in Nevada reads that installation must take place on “any car that you drive.” So for my domestic partner I agreed to have this device assigned to my vehicle. I am sure that there are many people thinking “wow, how smart.”

Since 2010, when some cars did stall out with the ignition lock and other brilliant people tried the same thing, technology has advanced and includes some interesting features:

1. How do you know the person blowing into the device is the car’s driver? Well now there’s a camera mounted on the rear-view mirror.

2. How do you know the conditions haven’t changed while the car was idling? You sense the motion of the vehicle by the movement of the GPS signal on the unit and test within 2-3 minutes of idling.

3. How do you differentiate one driver from another? Electronic records of the tests and photos will prove the driver’s presence.

Two things have happened in the 12 years of ignition interlock devices becoming part of several states’ protocol for decreasing DUI incidents:

1. The standard calibration of the amount of breath needed for a viable test of Blood Alcohol Content has been perfected.

2.  I am now 12 years older with a history of smoking, and even after being in treatment for COPD with oxygen and meds, I can’t generate the breath sample necessary without failing the test.

3.  In 2016 California 74% more of first offender DUI’s did not have a second offense after using the interlock device over those who used suspended license only. I would be willing to bet that the numbers have fallen since now it’s all DUI’s have to have the device for a period.

So, if you consider putting the ignition on someone else’s car, you better make sure they can start it or you’ll be making yourself available to take your grandparent (most likely) to the store or wherever else they need to go. You are the person that the device is calibrated for … not your grandparent or parent or friend.

Yes, the ignition interlock device can be re-calibrated with a court-order. You get a court order from the same place that made YOU put it on “a vehicle that you drive.” YOU have to explain why the other person drives the car also (I’m the owner) and what medical conditions prevent them from being able to start the car. Mind you that every step of this process that takes place inside an official building has a cost that ultimately rolls into the price tag of the DUI.

Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself because I have a provable medical condition, my car registration, and my need to be able to drive the car for my work. I have no history of DUI myself (but am not saying I never did drive over what is now the BAC limit). We are currently using the one car - for real, since the other one did burn-up in a fire. This story isn’t over yet because I still can’t start or drive my car.

Mr. Nice Guy Bail Bonds is accessible from everywhere in California and will help with advice in other states as well. Keep his number handy for the unexpected and the uninvited visits from person’s in uniform (844) 400-2245 and that’s toll free from anywhere.


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