Ignition interlocks required for all convicted of DUI in Virginia
For many individuals, being convicted of a crime is something that they never think will ever happen. They do not engage in any activities that they feel would put them on law enforcement’s radar. However, many motorists are stopped by police for traffic violations, and some of these stops may include charges for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In Virginia, the penalties for a DUI conviction are seemingly made stronger every year. In 2012, a new law went into effect that made ignition interlock devices mandatory for anyone convicted of driving under the influence. This was a significant change to existing laws, which only required the devices when a first-time offender had a blood alcohol content (BAC) above 0.15, or when someone was convicted of a second or later drunk driving offense.
The ignition interlock devices restrict an individual’s ability to operate a vehicle if he or she has been drinking. Before the vehicle will start, the driver must blow into the device which checks for the presence of alcohol on the person’s breath. If the person’s BAC is above 0.02, the vehicle will not start. The devices will also perform rolling retests, which means that the driver must always be below the 0.02 threshold in order for the vehicle to continue to operate.
These devices must be installed within 30 days of being sentenced and will be required to be in place for at least six months. Drivers forced to have an ignition interlock are not allowed to drive another person’s vehicle unless it is also equipped with one of these devices.
Those convicted of DUI in Virginia also have to pay for the installation and continued monitoring of the devices. There are a limited number of companies that are authorized to provide these services, which means that the expenses associated with the devices generally will not vary much from company to company.
In addition to the ignition interlock requirements, motorists convicted of DUI will also face penalties such as jail time or high fines, as well as increased insurance costs. If their occupations require them to drive, they could also lose their jobs.
If you have been arrested for DUI, it is important to remember that you have rights. Police must follow specific procedures when they make an arrest, and an experienced criminal defense attorney can review your case to determine if officers acted appropriately. You need to protect yourself by offering a strong defense to these accusations, because the consequences of a conviction for DUI are so severe. Any additional criminal convictions will only lead to increased penalties.