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Loudoun County Attorneys > Blog > Criminal Defense > Ignition Interlock Devices for DUI Offenders

Ignition Interlock Devices for DUI Offenders


In Virginia, if you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, you must use a special ignition interlock device, used to measure your blood alcohol content before starting the engine, for a period of time afterwards. Unfortunately not all drunk drivers are stopped by this technology, and the length of time required to use the device is generally only six months. A 57-year-old Augusta County, Virginia, man who killed a five-year-old child while driving under the influence of alcohol was sentenced to 10 and a half years in prison. It was the man’s fifth DUI conviction. He pleaded guilty to aggravated involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence in September of 2016, according to NBC29.com. The judge, who sentenced him to 15 years, suspended five years of his sentence after he said that he was ashamed and did not want to live anymore. If you have been charged with driving drunk, contact an attorney at once for legal assistance.

Virginia DUI Laws Include Ignition Interlock for DUI Offenders

In 2012, Virginia implemented the ignition interlock initiative, which “requires that any driver convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) must install an ignition interlock device, including an electronic log device, on every vehicle they own or which is registered to them.” Additionally, DUI offenders must partake in Virginia’s Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP). The length of time that the interlock must be used depends on the court’s decision, though six months is the general length. The more DUI charges a person has, the more likely that the time limit of the interlock will be increased. The driving conditions that apply to a Virginia DUI offender during the ignition interlock program include:

  • Offenders are not allowed to drive any vehicle without an ignition interlock device;
  • Offender must purchase an interlock device and electric log from providers approved by the state of Virginia;
  • School buses may not be driven during this time period;
  • The offender is responsible for costs associated with the interlock. It must be calibrated and monitored every 30 days;
  • Tampering or having another person blow into the device is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Has the Interlock Program Been Successful?

In 2011, before the interlock ignition law came into effect, 32 percent of Virginia traffic fatalities were caused by DUI drivers, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles. However, in 2015, the same 32 percent of Virginia traffic fatalities were caused by DUI drivers. While there has been a large decrease in DUI fatalities since 1990 (a year that saw 50 percent of traffic fatalities caused by DUI), what changes have occurred have been more difficult to define in recent years. The dramatic decrease in DUI fatalities over the last few decades is more likely due to social initiatives attacking the acceptability of driving under the influence.

Contact a Loudoun County, Leesburg, Winchester, Fairfax, and Prince William DUI Attorney Today

If you have been charged with a DUI in Virginia, contact an attorney at once with the law firm of Simms Showers, LLP today at 703-997-7821. We are eager to assist you immediately.





Disclaimer: This legal alert is provided for general information purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice particular to your situation. No recipients of this memo should act or refrain from acting solely on the basis of this memorandum without seeking professional legal counsel. Simms Showers LLP expressly disclaims all liability relating to actions taken or not taken based solely on the content of this memorandum. Please contact Caleb Kershner or Ben Mann at cak@simmsshowerslaw.com, wbm@simmsshowerslaw.com, or (703) 771-4671 for greater details concerning how this information may affect you.

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