What are Virginia's ignition interlock requirements?

In Virginia, drivers convicted of DUI may be required to use an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.

In Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, it is illegal for drivers to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 or higher. Those found guilty of this may be convicted for DUI and subject to pay a heavy fine, spend time in jail, perform community service and in certain situations, use an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.

An introduction to ignition interlocks

Most ignition interlock devices are about the size of a cellphone and to work, they must be wired directly into the ignition system of a car. When a driver who is required to use one of these devices wants to drive, her or she must blow into the device. The car will start if the driver does not have a measurable amount of alcohol in his or her system, but if he or she has too much alcohol in his or her system, the car will not turn on. These devices prevent drivers from operating a vehicle drunk, but enable them to get to work or school following a DUI arrest and conviction.

The law in Virginia

The Virginia DMV states that drivers convicted of drinking and driving for the first time may be required by the court to use an ignition interlock device in any vehicle they operate. However, if the court does not require the use of one of these devices, the DMV may still require the use of one of these devices on any vehicles a convicted driver operates. These same penalties also apply to drivers convicted of a second or third DUI offense.

Those who violate the terms of their ignition interlock restriction, or another violation of restricted driving penalties, may have their driving privilege revoked by the DMV for up to a one-year period. Those who violate their restricted driving privilege either a second or subsequent time may have their driving privilege revoked for up to three years. During these revocation periods, restricted driving privileges with the use of an ignition interlock are not available.

Reach out to an attorney

Those convicted for drinking and driving in Virginia may struggle to maintain their financial and professional status, especially if they are required to use an ignition interlock device. Anyone arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol should contact an attorney in their area for assistance understanding and asserting their legal rights as their DUI case progresses.