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Use of ignition interlocks in Virginia nearly double in two years

Virginians have a lot to lose when facing drunk driving charges. Depending on the circumstances, a conviction for driving under the influence can result in steep fines, jail time, loss of driving privileges and other consequences. Of course, there is also the threat of having to install an ignition interlock device.

Starting in mid 2012, a new law took effect in Virginia mandating that anyone convicted of DUI – including first-time offenders – would be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. These are essentially breathalyzer devices wired into the car, and the driver must pass a breath-alcohol test in order for the vehicle to start.

It has been less than two full years since the law took effect. But in that short time, the number of drivers with IIDs in their vehicles has nearly doubled. As of last month, almost 9,000 vehicles statewide had IIDs installed in them, up from 4,725 vehicles just two years ago.

At an annual operating cost of about $1,000 per device, IIDs are expensive as well as inconvenient and embarrassing. In light of this, it’s especially important for anyone facing DUI charges to present a strong criminal defense.

Speaking of breathalyzer tests, criminal defense attorneys often challenge DUI charges by examining the results of a breath-alcohol test and how it was conducted. These devices are only accurate if properly calibrated and used correctly. If the machines themselves are faulty or an officer did not administer a breathalyzer test correctly, the test results could be thrown out.

If you or a loved one is currently facing DUI charges in Virginia, you can’t afford to take chances. Please make sure that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney who can examine all aspects of your case and help you understand your rights and options.

Source: WTVR, "Va. drunk driving arrests, ignition interlock installs climb," Shelby Brown, Jan. 30, 2014

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