How Does Virginia’s Interlock Law Work?
The ignition interlock law in Virginia is one of the toughest in the country. It is also one of the most criticized laws when it comes to DUI penalties. In the simplest terms, the law in Virginia requires all those convicted of driving under the influence to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles, including first-time offenders. Today, we will take a deeper look at the interlock law of Virginia, so you understand what you are required to do if you are ever convicted for DUI.
When the Law Changed
The new law was passed overwhelmingly by Virginia lawmakers and went into effect in July 2012. The old law only required ignition interlock devices in vehicles of repeat offenders or first-time offenders who recorded a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher.
The change in the law was brought about by the high number of DUI incidents in the state, according to the then-president of the Washington Area Regional Alcohol Program, Kurt Erickson. Erickson said in a 2012 Washington Post story (regarding the previous law) that there are still 29,000 people arrested each year for DUI in Virginia. And data from the Department of Transportation in the state showed that 37 percent of deaths on the road were alcohol-related.
All About the Virginia Ignition Interlock Law
The new law in Virginia requires all those convicted for DUI to install the device, along with an electronic log on all of the vehicles they own or that are registered to them. Those convicted must also enroll in an alcohol safety action program run by the state and provide proof of such to a supervisor from the program. Here are some other notable facts about the new Virginia ignition interlock law:
- The law requires a minimum of six months for the device to be installed in the offender’s vehicle. The court has the discretion to extend this if there are other DUI convictions on the offender’s record.
- DUI offenders are not allowed to drive any type of vehicle that does not have an ignition interlock device installed.
- The state names providers of ignition interlock devices and electronic logs. Offenders must acquire the device and the log from one of these state-approved providers and no one else.
- Employers are allowed to ask the court for special dispensation for an employee to drive a company vehicle that is not equipped with an interlock device. If this is the case, the employee is only allowed to drive the company vehicle during work hours and for business purposes only. Should the vehicle owned by the company belong to a company the offender owns, he or she will not be permitted to drive said vehicle.
- During the six-month restriction period, or whatever period is assigned by the court, the offender cannot drive a commercial vehicle, a school bus, or any other school vehicle.
- The court could rule that the ignition interlock device be installed the minute the offender is convicted. This leads to a requirement of the offender paying the court a $20 fee.
- All costs related to the ignition interlock device, including installation, are the responsibility of the offender. The ignition interlock device must be serviced and calibrated every 30 days. Proof of this must be submitted to the offender’s program supervisor as well as the court that issued the conviction.
- The electronic logs are submitted by the provider of the device to the court every 30 days.
- All driving privileges will be revoked if the offender fails to install the ignition interlock device in their vehicle, fails to have it serviced every 30 days, or fails to have it monitored electronically.
- A person who aids the offender bypass the device by blowing into it for them or tampering with it is subject to a Class 1 misdemeanor. This includes providing the offender with a vehicle that does not have an interlock device installed.
Schedule a Consultation with a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney
Were you arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Virginia? A DUI conviction can be costly in numerous ways, including heavy fines, possible jail time, community service, loss of driving privileges, and the mandatory installation of an interlock ignition device. Having a DUI conviction on your criminal record can cost you in other ways as well. For example, you may have more difficulty obtaining housing, employment, bank financing, college scholarships, and obtaining a firearm.
With so much on the line, you cannot afford to leave your DUI defense to chance. It’s time for you to protect your rights by contacting the experienced criminal defense team at the Pack Law Group. Call our office at 540-586-7225 to schedule a consultation, or you may send a secure and confidential message through our online contact form.