Before you head out for a night of California fun, remember that you’re better off when you have a sober ride home. The state is tough on drunk drivers, and even a simple (low BAC, no harm or injury occurred) first-time California DUI in CA will result in a $1,800 fine and a 48-hour jail sentence or a 90-day restricted license that only allows you to drive to your place of business. You’ll also be required to attend an alcohol treatment program, your vehicle could be impounded and you will likely have a California ignition interlock requirement, too
California can require you to use an ignition interlock even before you get into court for a DUI
Ignition interlock devices are installed into your vehicle and prevent you from driving if alcohol is detected. Through submitting a breath sample when you go to start your vehicle, and periodically as you drive to your destination, you prove that you are sober behind the wheel and not in danger of another DUI mistake. If your license is suspended through the DMV, you may be eligible to install an interlock and skip the suspension time while waiting for your court date.
You can face penalties for misusing your California ignition interlock device, such as:
- Operating a vehicle without the device installed is a violation and you could face imprisonment for up to 6 months and/or by a fine of no more than $5,000.
- Having someone else breathe into the device for you is a violation of the agreement with similar penalties.
- Tampering with, circumventing the device or driving illegally without it will also cause your license to be suspended for a year, after which you will likely resume your ignition interlock requirement if you intend to drive.
When you have an ignition interlock requirement in California, it gives you back your freedom to drive as you did before your DUI happened. Any attempts to get around without the device are just indications that you are not serious about being sober while driving and are a danger to others on the road.