Many drivers in California have questions about the usage of ignition interlock devices (IIDs). For example, you may wonder how many times you can fail an IID test before facing repercussions. You can use this article to review the results of a failure on an IID test.
You can also go over the legal results of the misuse of an IID in California. Then, focus on getting the answers you are looking for by contacting an attorney from our law firm.
A Single Failed IID Test Locks Out Your Vehicle
So how many interlock violations can you have in California? The state’s regulations on IID usage are very strict. Your vehicle may be locked out after one failed interlock test. This means you will be unable to start your vehicle for a period of time. After this time passes, you can re-try the IID test.
A subsequent failure will lock out your vehicle once more. Your car will not start if you fail an IID test. It does not matter if it is the first time you have taken the test or not. You will not be able to drive until the IID does not register alcohol on your breath.
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Avoiding an IID Test is Against the Law in California
Some drivers in California avoid failing an IID test by not taking the test. Drivers may try to get someone else to take the test for them to start their vehicle. This act will be considered bypassing your IID, which is against the law.
Drivers who try to bypass their IID to start their vehicles can have their licenses revoked or suspended.
Drivers Must Complete Rolling IID Retests
You do not only use your IID when starting your vehicle in California. You will also have to perform tests while driving. You will receive a prior warning before a test is due. You must complete all tests to comply with California’s regulations on IID usage.
Drivers can be accused of bypassing their IID if they:
- Fail to complete a rolling test
- Complete a rolling test with an elevated blood alcohol content (BAC) level
Note that you must keep your BAC very low to pass a rolling test with an IID. For example, most drivers in California must keep their BAC below 0.08% to operate a vehicle legally. Conversely, you may fail an IID test if your BAC is above 0.02%, leading to harsh penalties and the loss of your driving privileges.
Mistreatment of an IID is a Serious Offense
Drivers in California may face penalties if they fail or avoid an IID test. In addition, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may also suspend or revoke your driver’s license if you attempt to:
- Tamper with your IID
- Remove your IID
You are legally required to keep an IID in your vehicle for a set period of time following a DUI conviction. For example, a first-time conviction might require you to keep an IID for six months. Subsequent convictions will increase the time you have to use an interlock device.
You should contact a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer immediately if you are accused of tampering with or removing your device.
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Keep Your IID Maintained to Avoid Legal Trouble
California requires drivers to get their IIDs regularly serviced and maintained. Your driving privileges may be suspended or revoked if you:
- Miss a single service appointment within 60 days
- Fail to calibrate or maintain the IID at least three times within 60 days
Your ignition device may need to be calibrated after a series of test failures. Your IID installation technician will inform you when your device requires maintenance and service. You should not avoid these appointments if you want to protect your ability to operate a motor vehicle.
As you can see, even a single mistake with an IID can have serious consequences on your life. However, you should not try to operate a vehicle without a court-ordered IID. This can result in charges for driving on a suspended license in California.
Can Something Other Than Alcohol Trigger the IID?
The ignition interlock device is highly sensitive to alcohol found in a variety of products used for human consumption. Food and products like the ones below may create a false positive in your IID and prevent your car from starting:
- Energy drinks
- Cough syrup and other cough medicines
- Ripe or fermented fruit
- Protein bars
- Bread products (things made with yeast)
Diet and Health Conditions Can Create False Positives on an IID
Specific diets and health conditions can also trigger a false positive on your ignition interlock device. Different medical conditions and diets cause your blood alcohol levels to elevate for various periods of time. Diabetes and the Keto diet create acetone in your body. Some of that acetone is released as isopropyl alcohol through your breath. Some breathalyzer machines can differentiate between ethanol alcohol in alcoholic beverages and isopropyl alcohol, while others cannot.
Some of the conditions that can induce a false positive in an IID or breathalyzer include:
- Acid reflux (stomach alcohol is projected into the mouth)
- Heart disease
- Keto diet
- High-protein diet
How to Avoid Failing Your Ignition Interlock Device Due to False Positives
You may be able to rinse your mouth out and drink water to reduce the alcohol residue left from foods, non-alcoholic beverages, and mouthwash. Otherwise, waiting a period of time before driving may help. It will allow the alcohol to fade naturally. However, diet and health conditions may not be as easy to remedy. If you have failed the IID multiple times due to false positives and know you have not been drinking, you should inform your installation agency of the issue.
Every failed test counts against you in the long run. Further, you should avoid consuming or using products that leave alcohol behind on your breath if you know you will need to drive your car.
How Long Will I Have to Use an Ignition Interlock Device in California?
The amount of time you are required to use an ignition interlock device varies based on your DUI offenses. You could be required to use the IID for anywhere from one to four years. If you have no prior offenses, you may not be required to use one. Conversely, if you have multiple prior offenses, you will need to have the device installed for longer. Further, if your drunk driving injured someone else, which could be charged as a felony, your mandatory time will be longer than for non-injury offenses. A breakdown of the mandatory ignition interlock device installation period is provided below:
No Prior DUI Offenses
Drivers who are first-time offenders are under no mandate to install an IID unless their intoxicated driving led to the injury of another person. If so, the driver would need to keep the IID for one year.
One Prior DUI Conviction Over 10 Years
With one prior DUI conviction, you will be required to use the ignition interlock device for one year if you committed a non-injury offense and two years if your offense resulted in injury or manslaughter.
Two Prior DUI Convictions Over 10 Years
If you already have two convictions for driving under the influence, there is a two-year requirement for non-injury offenses and a three-year requirement for injury offenses.
Three or More Prior DUI Convictions Over 10 Years
If you have three or more DUI convictions, you face a mandatory three years of using the IID for injury and non-injury offenses.
At Least One Prior Felony DUI Conviction Over 10 Years
Prior felony DUI convictions result in the longest mandatory IID time. For non-injury offenses, you will have to keep the device for three years. You will be required to have it installed for four years for injury offenses.
Speak to a Criminal Defense DUI Attorney About Failed IID Tests Today
How many times can you fail an IID test in California? In truth, even a single failed test can lock out your vehicle. Failing a rolling test could even cost you your driving privileges. Make sure you get help immediately after an IID test failure by speaking with Simmrin Law Group. Call or fill out our online contact form to get started.
You can speak to our DUI lawyers in Los Angeles to get a free case evaluation.