Watch out if you get arrested in the City of San Diego for a DUI. The City Attorney’s Office is the prosecutor of misdemeanors in San Diego. Starting a couple months ago, the City Attorney’s Office started asking the Judge to order that you cannot drive any vehicle that is not equipped with an ignition interlock device put on your car EVEN FOR first time DUI’s if the blood alcohol level is 0.015% or higher. That is a punishment that is worse than the standard guidelines drafted by the Judges and is harsher than any other prosecutor in the County.
An ignition interlock, sometimes referred to its abbreviation, IID, is a device that gets hooked up to the ignition on your car. Before you can even start your car, you have to blow into it. It’s purpose is to keep you from driving if you have been drinking. If you have just used your mouthwash, you aren't going anywhere, because the device will not let you start the car because the trace amounts of alcohol in mouthwash will be picked up by the device.
The use of ignition interlock devices has been becoming more and more popular. Several years ago, they became an option if you wanted to get a restricted driver’s license if you had a second DUI. Now, laws are changing to encourage the Judge to use them in first offense DUI cases. Not surprisingly, this comes after lots of lobbying by the manufacturers and providers of these IID’s. Why? You have to pay to have it installed as well as pay a monthly fee to have the company monitor the device. It is going to be a huge burden on people who cannot afford it.
That does not even get to how incredibly embarrassing these things are. Anyone in or near your car may see it. That includes friends, family co-workers or your boss. If you drive a company car or other business owned vehicle, you are out of work.
What is a real shame is that it has not yet been clearly shown that these devices are needed for the majority of first time offenders. Instead, it seems like a way to look “tough on crime” or simply to shame people who are otherwise good honest citizens.