How do Ignition Interlock Systems Work?

How do Ignition Interlock Systems Work?

dui in virginia

On our blog, we’ve discussed the stiff penalties faced by Virginia drivers who are found guilty of driving under the influence. One of the penalties imposed on all those convicted under Virginia’s DUI laws is the requirement that the convicted person only drive a vehicle that uses an ignition interlock system. Learn more below about Virginia’s laws on Ignition Interlock Systems after a DUI, and contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer after you’re charged with a DUI in Virginia.

How does an ignition interlock system work?

Ignition interlock systems (IIS) are devices installed on vehicles that prevent drivers from starting their cars if they have a blood alcohol level over .02%. In Virginia, first-time DUI offenders who wish to obtain a restricted license during the period that their license is suspended after a DUI will be required to have an IIS installed on their vehicle for at least six months. This period may be longer depending on the facts of the case and the judge’s decision. Those who do not need a restricted license to get to school or work will not be required to have an IIS installed after their first conviction. However, after a second conviction, drivers will be required to have an IIS installed for a court-determined period of time after their conviction.

Virginia also mandates that an IIS installed after a DUI requires the driver to complete a breath test upon first starting the vehicle, and that drivers complete rolling retests. A rolling retest requires a driver to complete another breath test after the car has been started as a way of ensuring that the driver is the one who completed the initial test that started the car. If the driver fails to complete a rolling retest, or the rolling retest indicates that the driver has a blood alcohol level over .02%, the car won’t come to a stop, but the vehicle’s lights will flash and horn will sound.

Drivers with an installed IIS subject to monitoring and maintenance requirements

During the period that a driver is required to have an IIS on their vehicle, they will need to be enrolled in an alcohol safety action program (often known as an ASAP program). The individual will need to submit a printout of the electronic log maintained by the IIS at least once a quarter, which will display the driver’s blood alcohol level during all breath tests, as well as any failed attempts to start the car, failed rolling retests, and attempts to tamper with the device. A violation could result in jail time. Every 30 days, drivers will need to return to the location where they had the IIS installed for the IIS company to perform maintenance on the device, and to download all data that the device has stored. If the data reveals a violation, it will be turned over to the court.

Not only is an IIS a hassle, it can be expensive. Drivers are required to shoulder the cost of having the device installed by a private IIS company, as well as pay a monthly fee to lease the device. Typically, these devices cost about $80 a month, plus installation and, sometimes, removal fees. You’re allowed to select the company offering the most cost-effective IIS. However, preventing a conviction for a DUI in the first place is the best way to save yourself time and money.

If you’ve been charged with a Virginia DUI, seek responsible and capable legal help to defend yourself against these charges, and contact the Martinsburg DUI defense attorneys at the Pack Law Group for a consultation, at 540-586-7225.