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New law expands pilot program statewide

On Sept. 28, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1046 into law. The legislation would require most drivers in California who have been convicted of a DUI to have a device similar to a Breathalyzer installed in their vehicles. It continues a pilot program ongoing in four counties that has prevented 125,000 attempts by drivers to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher.

The legislation goes into effect throughout the state on New Year's Day 2019. Those who have been convicted of a first-offense DUI causing injury must have the device in their cars for six months. A first offense that does not involve injury may also require a driver to install the device for six months to retain full driving privileges. Alternatively, he or she may drive on a restricted license for a year while also taking part in a treatment program.

Drivers convicted of a second DUI would be required to have the device installed in their cars for a year. The penalty would then increase to two years for a third DUI and three years for a fourth or any future DUI. Each device costs up to $150 to install with a monthly fee of up to $80 to use it. Financial assistance is provided for low-income drivers.

Those who are convicted of a DUI may face jail time or a license suspension. They may also face personal and professional consequences merely by being charged with driving while impaired. Therefore, it may be a good idea to talk to an attorney who may create a defense against the charge. One possible challenge could be to the initial stop itself as being made without reasonable suspicion.

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