New Virginia Law Requires Ignition Interlock Devices for First-Time DUI Offenders

A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) in Virginia entails some stiff penalties, including fines and jail time—and now, a new Virginia law requires even first-time DUI offenders to have ignition interlock devices installed in their cars. These devices don't allow you to start your car if your breath sample indicates any degree of intoxication. Since the stakes for a DUI conviction are now so high, you have more reason to hire an experienced defense attorney from Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC.

Virginia's Ignition Interlock Law is the Most Strict in the Nation

In July of 2012, the state of Virginia implemented one of the harshest drunk-driving laws in the nation. Starting on that date, drivers convicted of a DUI will only be able to hold onto their licenses if they agree to install an ignition-interlock device in their car (previously, the ignition interlock was reserved for repeat DUI offenders, or those convicted of a first-time DUI who had a blood-alcohol level of .15 percent, which is twice the legal limit).

Not only are first-time DUI offenders required to install ignition interlock devices in their cars; they also have to pay for all the parts and labor, which can exceed $500 for any given vehicle. Of course, an offender can simply choose to give up his license for a year; the ignition interlock is mainly intended for those who need their cars to get to and from work. What's more, having an ignition interlock device in your car can be a public mark of shame, especially in the eyes of passengers who see you breathing into the tube for a “rolling test.”

Another wrinkle of this new law, which has attracted some criticism, is that it doesn't matter if a first-time offender is arrested for having a blood-alcohol level of 0.02 percent (the legal minimum for teen or juvenile drunk driving), the standard 0.08 percent, or a “super drunk” level exceeding .15 percent. In all three cases, continuing to drive after a conviction will necessitate installing an ignition interlock device.

Are You Being Prosecuted for a First-Time DUI? You Need Expert Legal Representation

With the new ignition-interlock law, the stakes have never been higher for drivers accused of DUI in the state of Virginia. If you have been tested, arrested, and charged with DUI, you need to secure the services of an expert criminal lawyer who can negotiate your case with a judge or district attorney and secure the least possible penalty. Call the law firm of Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC today for a free consultation!