If you have been ordered to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car because of a DUI, did you know that you can choose which device to have installed based on a number of options available, all approved by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)? You must beware, however, as the state does not regulate fees for installation and maintenance, which means companies that provide these services can charge anything they like.
This doesn’t mean you have no control. You can still make the best of a not-so-desirable situation. With a little research, you can make the choice that is right for you. Here are some of the fees to ask about when choosing an IID.
Installation and Monitoring Fees
Depending on your location, fees for monitoring an ignition interlock device can vary. You can expect to pay anywhere between $50 and $200. These fees can include the cost for downloading software and updates. Having a luxury vehicle or a difficult installation can prolong the procedure and drive up fees even more.
Monthly Rental Fee
You do not own the IID, which means that you will have to pay anywhere between $50 and $100.
- Often, companies that provide monthly fees will waive installation costs. You won’t know if you don’t ask.
You will need to calibrate your ignition interlock device periodically.
This is important, as a device that is left to decalibrate could register false positives. In plain English, the device could think you are not fit to drive even though you had one drink three hours before you blew. California law requires that you do not go more than sixty days without calibrating. However, different manufacturers have different specifications, and may recommend a monthly calibration appointment. It doesn’t take a mathematician to realize that six times a year is better than twelve times a year.
IID manufacturers realize that some drivers who know that they are in violation may get a friend to blow into the device and start the car for them. They’ve safeguarded against this possibility by installing a random “running retest” function in the device. This means that the device will without warning ask you to blow into it while you are in the middle of driving, or else run the risk of shutting down. If you blow an unacceptable level, this constitutes a violation. Some manufactures will charge you for every violation. Some have a flat rate. Others have rates dependent on the time of violation–that is, whether they have to reset after hours.
They charged you for putting it in, they might charge you for taking it out too.
- It is also important to remember that some devices are more sensitive than others. Ask the manufacturer if any other substance on the breath (e.g. mouthwash, breath mints, etc.) is capable of registering a false positive.
It’s no picnic having to drive around with an Ignition Interlock Device
The unexpected breakdown of your vehicle, an accident, or any other pitfall only makes matters more difficult. Nevertheless, understanding your right to choose the device that best suits your bank account can make all the difference in the world.