State Laws

Ignition Interlock Laws in California

Lifesafer Ignition Interlock California

There are two types of suspensions that can result from a DUI in California.

  1. Administrative – from the DMV, immediately at the time of your arrest if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of is .08 or more (.01% if you are under 21, or if you refuse a chemical test). Your license is confiscated and you are given a temporary 30-day license in order to get your affairs in order before your trial. If your trial is set for more than 30 days after your arrest, do not drive after the 30-day period.
  2. From the criminal court. This occurs when you are sentenced by a court after a trial or plea agreement.

If you are convicted of a DUI in a criminal court in Los Angeles, Alameda, Tulare or Sacramento Counties, an ignition interlock device (IID) will be required on any vehicle you own or operate. In other counties it may be required depending on the court’s discretion. The period of restriction and the period of suspension before you can drive with an interlock vary depending on how many previous DUI convictions you have.

In California, a DUI can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Most first, second, and third drunk-driving arrests are charged as misdemeanors, which generally carry lighter penalties. You might be charged with a felony DUI if you are involved in an accident, particularly if you kill or injure another person, or if you are arrested for a fourth DUI within 10 years.

Number of Offenses
Within 10 Yrs
Interlock Period
(Misdemeanor Conviction)
Interlock Period
(Felony Conviction)
1 5 Months 12 Months
2 12 Months 24 Months
3 24 Months 36 Months
4 or more 36 Months 48 Months
Number of Offenses
Within 10 Yrs
Suspension Period May apply for
restricted license after:
1 6 Months At discretion of court
2 2 Years 90 Days
3 3 Years 18 Months
4 or more 4 Years 18 Months

In some cases exceptions are made for people who drive vehicles owned by their employers.