While many critics opposed the law on the ground that it broadens what many deem to be an ineffective tool to prevent driving under the influence, the new California legislation is being hailed as a step in the right direction by many experts and legal professionals who have always complained DUI suspensions for first time offenders hurt the families of drunk drivers more than the offender himself.
Here are some facts about the new law
Allows any drunk driver to go on an ignition interlock instead of license suspension. Currently, drivers arrested and convicted of DUI must wait at least 30 days before going on ignition interlock.
•Drunk drivers can start the interlock time as soon as their license is suspended and they meet other DMV licensing requirements. Offenders who install an interlock sooner are eligible for a $500 fine reduction (cumulative fines and penalties) upon criminal court sentencing.
•A person who installs an interlock early can receive credit toward any court interlock order. SB 1046 also makes more indigent drunk drivers eligible to obtain an interlock at a reduced cost. The law was written to require the interlock companies to pick up the cost.
•Currently, one of the 350 interlock locations determine indigence via tax return or three months of income statements. If one of these dealers fails to comply with the current income assistance requirement, the interlock dealers can be held responsible.
•Requires interlock vendors to provide individuals with information on income assistance and contact information for the bureau in case customers have complaints
California is the only state that requires interlock users to have their license revoked after completing the statutory time on an interlock. For example, a first-time offender who completes five months on an interlock must wait an additional six months before being able to drive unrestricted. A repeat offender who completes one year on an interlock must wait another year before driving legally. Under SB 1046, offenders can drive legally without restriction as soon as they complete their interlock period, which helps to close this loophole.