Ignition Interlock Systems V. Remote Alcohol Monitoring Devices In Virginia
Upon conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in Virginia, an offender typically faces a period of driver’s license suspension or revocation. During this suspension or revocation period, the offender can only operate a motor vehicle with a restricted license and ignition interlock system or a remote alcohol monitoring device.
Ignition Interlock Systems in Virginia
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-270.1 furnishes the definition of and requirements for ignition interlock systems. Under this section, an ignition interlock system refers to a device that:
- Connects an analyzer to the ignition system of a motor vehicle to measure a driver’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC);
- Stops the motor vehicle from starting if the driver registers a BAC above 0.02; and
- Creates an electronic log of the driver’s BAC upon ignition, attempted ignition, and rolling retest.
In this context, the term “rolling retest” also has a statutory definition under Section 18.2-270.1. This term refers to a test of the driver’s BAC at random intervals throughout their trip behind the wheel. If the driver registers a BAC above 0.02 or fails to submit to the test, the ignition interlock system will force the vehicle’s horn to sound and lights to flash.
Ignition interlock systems are required for DUI offenders as a condition of obtaining a restricted license. Generally speaking, DUI offenders must use an ignition interlock system for the duration of their suspension or revocation period. But at a minimum, these offenders must adhere to ignition interlock system rules for six months without an alcohol-related violation.
Any person who violates ignition interlock system rules will ordinarily face Class 1 misdemeanor charges. Upon conviction, the punishment can include a maximum of 12 months in county jail and $2,500 in criminal fines.
Remote Alcohol Monitoring Devices in Virginia
Section 18.2-270.1 also details the definition of and requirements for remote alcohol monitoring devices. Under this section, a remote alcohol monitoring device refers to a system that:
- Performs unsupervised and mobile tests of a person’s location and BAC;
- Conducts BAC tests on a scheduled, random, or on-demand basis; and
- Provides immediate results of the person’s BAC.
When DUI offenders are ineligible for a restricted license with an ignition interlock system, they can request a remote alcohol monitoring device instead. Usually, DUI offenders must use a remote alcohol monitoring device for their entire period of driver’s license suspension or revocation — without consuming alcohol during that time.
Any person who violates remote alcohol monitoring device rules will typically face Class 1 misdemeanor charges, punishable as outlined above.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about ignition interlock systems or remote alcohol monitoring devices in Virginia, it can be highly valuable to consult with a licensed Leesburg criminal defense attorney. With proven experience in criminal defense, the attorneys at Simms Showers LLP can help answer your questions. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.