Effective July 1, 2012, even a first offense DUI / DWI in Virginia will require ignition interlock as a condition of getting a restricted license. It’s a major change to Virginia DWI law.
Hello, my name is Andrew Flusche, and I’m a Virginia traffic attorney. I wanted to explain to you a change in Virginia’s law that will be taking effect on July 1st of this year, 2012. This pertains to DUI or DWI. Starting July 1, 2012, if you’re convicted of even a first offense of DUI or DWI, you would have to have ignition interlock in order to have a restricted license. That’s a big change, because prior to July 1st of this year, you would only need ignition interlock for a restricted license on a first offense DUI if your blood-alcohol content is proven to be a .15 or more. Starting July 1, 2012, even a .08 or very low level like .07 (you could be convicted with just a .07 blood-alcohol content) in order to get a restricted license on even a first DUI, you will have to have ignition interlock as a requirement.
What does that mean, realistically, for you if you’re facing a charge of DUI? What that means is, if you’re convicted of any first DUI after July 1st, you will have a couple of choices. If you don’t want to drive for a whole year; your license is going to be suspended for one year for a DUI first conviction; then you simply don’t drive for that one year. If you do want to have a restricted license, maybe you need that to get to work or school, or to take care of your kids, or to drive to church, which are all permissible purposes under the law, in order to have that restricted license, you cannot drive any vehicle unless it has ignition interlock installed. It is a condition of your restricted license. I did have some clients who didn’t care to drive during that year. They were able to make other arrangements. Maybe you’re retired or don’t need to drive much, and if you can make do without driving a vehicle for a year you don’t have to mess with ignition interlock at all.
That’s a little bit different than it used to be. It’s not a condition of getting your license back; it’s simply going to be a condition of having a restricted license. But if you want to have a restricted license and you want to drive for any permissible purposes you will have to have ignition interlock installed and that’s the way it’s going to work.
Now, if you’re charged with a second DUI and convicted of a second offense DUI, the ignition interlock would be a condition of your restricted license at the appropriate time, but it would also be a condition of license restoration. What that means is for a second offense, in order to get your license back, you would have to have ignition interlock. Even if you don’t get the restricted license during court, you’re going to have to get ignition interlock at some point for a second offense.
For a first offense, you do have the choice to not have ignition interlock and not drive. In order to drive at all after a first offense during that one year, you’ll have to have ignition interlock, which is the blow machine. You’ll have to blow into it before you can start your car. It’s going to be a financial burden, but it’s something that we can help work with you on to help manage the process.
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