Thursday, July 2, 2009

Yesterday saw a significant change to California DUI & drunk driving laws: IID for conviction of driving on suspended license

Yesterday saw a significant change to California DUI & drunk driving laws.

Beginning July 1, 2009, DMV can now require any California driver convicted of Vehicle Code section 14601.2(a) - driving with a suspended license due to a prior DUI or alcohol-related suspension to install an ignition interlock (IID) device in any vehicle owned or operated by the offender for 1 to 3 years.

The number of California drivers who will be affected may reach twenty thousand each year. Every such driver must install a device that detects alcohol on the breath. If alcohol is detected, the vehicle will not turn on.

The ignition interlock device (IID) used by some companies boast “fuel cell technology,” which purportedly prevents false positives. That is not necessarily the case, however, as interfering compounds may create false positives.

Can Sugar-free Candy or Gum's Sugar Alcohol Cause a Falsely Elevated California DUI Breath Test Reading?

There can be interfering compound problems.

Some natural and volatile interfering compounds do exist, however. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that dieters and diabetics may have acetone levels hundreds and even thousand of times higher than those in others. Acetone is one of the many substances that can be falsely identified as ethyl alcohol by some breath machines. However, new machines like the Draeger Breathalyzer use technology that filters out substances like acetone.

A study in Spain showed that metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) used in asthma treatment are also a cause of false positives in breath machines.

Substances in the environment can also lead to false BAC readings. For example, methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), a common gasoline additive, has been alleged anecdotally to cause false positives in persons exposed to it. Tests have shown this to be true for older machines; however, newer machines detect this interference and compensate for it.[12] Any number of other products found in the environment or workplace can also cause erroneous BAC results. These include compounds found in lacquer, paint remover, celluloid, gasoline, and cleaning fluids, especially ethers, alcohols, and other volatile compounds.

California DUI attorneys regularly inquire into a fundamental requirement that the subject not eat, drink, burp, belch, regurgitate gas, smoke or put anything in or out of one's mouth for at least 15 minutes just prior to actual breath testing.

When the device detects alcohol the vehicle will not start –other foods or drinks detected on the breath will not prevent the car from starting. In addition, the device requires “rolling retests,” which mandate that the driver continues to blow into the device at random intervals of 10-15 minutes.

If alcohol is detected on the driver’s breath at any time while the vehicle is moving, the device will supposedly report this information. Once the vehicle is turned off, it will not restart until another, alcohol-free test, is submitted.

IID companies profess to have advanced reporting methods that let the California DUI judge or California drunk driving probation officer know exactly how and when the device is used. A full report, indicating the time, date and result of each test is emailed monthly to the person to which the driver needs to report. California DUI lawyers use documentation to help their clients.