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Understanding ignition interlock devices

Virginia motorists understand that driving is a privilege. This means that there are situations where this privilege can be limited or even taken away. When a driver is faced with a drunk driving allegation, this could result in the motorist having restricted abilities to drive if a conviction results. Thus, it is important to understand what these penalties could be, how it could impact the motorist's personal and professional life and what defense options he or she might have.

In the state of Virginia, a driver convicted of a DUI could be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in his or her vehicle. An ignition interlock system is a device that connects to a vehicle's ignition system and it analyzes the driver's blood alcohol content. If the device read's 0.02 percent or higher, the device will prevent the vehicle from starting.

The device is also equipped with the ability to perform a rolling retest, which means the device requires random interval testing during the operation of the vehicle. The device electronically logs the blood alcohol content during ignition, the number of attempts to put the vehicle in ignition and the results of any rolling retests.

When a driver is required to use an ignition interlock device, he or she is also prevented from operating any vehicle that does not have a device installed in it. There is an exception, however, which is when an employer owns a vehicle and an individual is permitted by the court to operate it without the device being installed.

If it is ordered that an interlock device be installed, it must be installed within 30 days of the order. As a condition of a restricted license, a motorist is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle without a device installed in it for the period of his or her license suspension or restrictions, which is not less then six consecutive months without any violations of the driver's requirements.

Because a DUI could result in hefty fines, the requirement of having an ignition interlock device installed and the possibility of jail time, it is important to consider the defense options available. This means exploring the matter fully, considering what evidence could help reduce or even dismiss the charges against them.

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Boyce, Leahy & Francescon, Lawyers
9300 Grant Avenue, Suite 200
Manassas, VA 20110

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