Can I Be Penalized for Tampering with an IID in California?

In California, if you're convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), the judge may require that you have an ignition interlock (IID) on any vehicle you drive. It must be installed and removed by a certified installer. If you mess with the IID in any way, even if it's not working correctly, you could be charged with an offense and face additional penalties.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An IID is a small device that gets installed near the steering column of your car. Before you can start your vehicle, you must blow into it. If any level of alcohol is detected on your breath, your vehicle will not start.

During your journey, the IID will randomly prompt you to provide a breath sample. You have a certain amount of time between the prompt before you are required to blow into the device, allowing you time to pull over and do so safely (if needed). If your breath is not alcohol-free, the information will be logged as a "fail."

What Conduct Is Prohibited by Laws Concerning IIDs?

Having an IID installed on your vehicle is considered a privilege. If you didn't have the device, you may be subject to a suspension of your driver's license and would not be allowed to drive at all.

Because the IID is meant to keep the community safe by preventing you from drunk driving, anything you do to circumvent the system is considered unlawful and can result in serious penalties.

Under California Penal Code 23247, it's illegal to do any of the following where IIDs are concerned:

  • Rent or lend a vehicle not equipped with a device to someone subject to IID requirements. The individual must tell the person they wish to borrow the car from that they are required to have an IID installed on any vehicle they drive.
  • Ask someone else to blow into the IID. Ignition interlock devices are designed and installed so only the driver can give a breath sample. However, they might ask someone else to sit in the driver's seat just long enough to blow into the device and get the car started. Unfortunately, this is unlawful.
  • Provide a breath sample for someone else. Just as it's illegal to ask someone to blow into the IID, it's also a crime to offer to do so for a driver subject to the device requirement.
  • Tamper with the IID in any way. As mentioned earlier, the ignition interlock device must be installed and removed by a certified installer. If the driver tries to mess with the device –whether to fix an error or cause a false reading – they could be charged with an offense.

What Happens If I Tamper with an IID?

In California, tampering with an IID, driving a car without one installed, or having someone else blow into the machine for you are all crimes.

The penalties you face are harsh and include:

  • A jail term of up to 6 months
  • A fine of up to $5,000
  • A suspension or revocation of your driving privileges by the DMV for the time remaining from your initial DUI conviction

If you've been accused of DUI, contact a lawyer right away to get started on fighting your charges. They can work toward a favorable outcome on your behalf, seeking to avoid conviction penalties such as an IID requirement.

For the defense you need in Bakersfield, call Koenig Law Office at or submit an online contact form today.

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