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Ignition Interlock System

As of July 2012, any person convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in Virginia is required to install an ignition interlock system on their vehicle for at least six months as a condition of any restricted driver’s license. Prior to July 2012, the law only required this of repeat offenders and those individuals with a blood alcohol content (BAC) in excess of 0.15. The ignition interlock is required to be installed on every vehicle owned by the individual, in whole or in part (this includes vehicles that are jointly titled, such as between husband and wife), regardless of who may be the primary driver.

How Does the Ignition Interlock System Work?

A vehicle ignition interlock system is similar to a breathalyzer used after DUI arrests to determine a person’s BAC. The system requires that the driver blow in to the device in order to allow the vehicle to start. If the device detects a BAC of 0.02 or higher, it will not allow the vehicle to start. Once the vehicle has been started, the device will further prompt the driver to submit a sample every 20-30 minutes as the vehicle is in operation, known as a “rolling test”. If the device detects a BAC of 0.02 or higher at that state, the horn will begin to blow and the lights will flash (similar to a car alarm) until the vehicle is stopped and the engine is turned off.

A Positive Alcohol Reading on the Ignition Interlock?

Every month, the ignition interlock system must be maintained by the authorized installer. During the maintenance session, any reports of positive alcohol detection will be forward to the VASAP probation office. The VASAP office may then ask the court to revoke the restricted license period and request contempt proceedings.

How Much Does an Ignition Interlock System Cost?

The ignition interlock system must be installed by an authorized provider. The individual is responsible not only for the cost of installation, but also the monthly cost to have the device maintained. Such cost is typically between $60 and $80 each month.

How Long is the Ignition Interlock System Required to be on a Vehicle?

The Virginia law requires the ignition interlock system to be installed for at least six months. However, the judge has the discretion to require the device for the entire period of the license suspension.

In most circumstances, the court will allow an individual to petition the court after six months for termination of the device. In these cases, the driver would have to show no further traffic violations, no other alcohol related incidents, and no violations reported to VASAP.

For over 20 years, The Law Office of James J. McCoart, III, has vigorously represented those accused of Driving Under the Influence. If you, or your family member, are interested in a no-cost consultation regarding a DUI charge in Virginia, then contact The Law Office of James J. McCoart, III, by phone (703) 369-2734, or email.