Major DUI Change – Ignition Interlock All Around

Virginia DUI / DWI law just had a radical change. Effective July 1 of this year (2012), EVERYONE convicted of a first offense DWI must get ignition interlock in order to have a restricted license.

Yep, I’m serious. The bill is HB 279.

This is a big departure from prior law. Currently, first offenders only have to get ignition interlock if their blood alcohol is proven to be 0.15 or higher. If you are convicted of a low level first offense DUI, you are eligible for a restricted license without the interlock requirement.

But now everyone who is convicted of any DUI will have to get interlock in order to drive on a restricted license.

If you’re not familiar with ignition interlock, it’s the machine that gets installed in the vehicle that requires the driver to blow before the car will start.

Not only is interlock a pain to have installed, drive with, and take to the interlock facility for data downloads, but it’s expensive. This will create yet another burden for someone who is convicted of DUI. Some folks certainly think that’s a good idea, but I think it’s a severe burden on people who just barely are convicted of a DUI for a low level blood alcohol reading.

There is one silver lining to this change. For first offense DUI, the interlock requirement is only for restricted licenses. If a person doesn’t want to drive at all during their year of license suspension, they don’t have to get ignition interlock. Under current law, a person convicted of a 0.15 or higher BAC first offense DUI has to get ignition interlock in order to ever drive again in Virginia.

Is that clear as mud? Typical Virginia laws.

Here’s the bottom line: as of July 1, 2012, everyone convicted of DUI will have to get ignition interlock in order to have a restricted license.

Photo by VCU CNS

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Avvo. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.
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