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Loudoun County Attorneys > Blog > DUI > What are the Virginia Requirements for Ignition Interlock Systems?

What are the Virginia Requirements for Ignition Interlock Systems?


Upon conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, Virginia law requires many offenders to use an ignition interlock device. These devices are installed on a DUI offender’s motor vehicle, ensuring the safe and sober operation of the vehicle in question. To understand the purpose of and requirements for ignition interlock devices, the following sections will provide an overview of applicable Virginia rules and regulations.

What is an Ignition Interlock Systems Under Virginia Law?

The definition of an ignition interlock system appears under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-270.1. There are typically three elements to a valid ignition interlock system under Virginia law. Specifically, these systems must be able to:

  • Connect to the ignition system of a motor vehicle;
  • Measure the blood-alcohol concentration of the driver;
  • Prevent the driver from starting the motor vehicle if their BAC exceeds 0.02; and
  • Perform a rolling retest, as defined in the following section; and
  • Register the driver’s BAC levels upon ignition, attempted ignition, and rolling retest.

Additionally, drivers required to install ignition interlock systems have several other requirements under Section 18.2-270.1. These drivers must provide proof of installation of an ignition interlock system to the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP). Moreover, these drivers must engage an appropriate service for calibration and maintenance of their ignition interlock system at least every 30 days.

What is a Rolling Retest Under Virginia Law?

As outlined in the previous section, ignition interlock systems must be able to perform a rolling retest. This term rolling retest has a specific definition under Section 18.2-270.1. Essentially, rolling retests occur at random intervals while operating a vehicle. A rolling retest will force the vehicle lights and horn to trigger if the driver:

  • Registers a BAC above 0.02; or
  • Neglects to perform the rolling retest.

What are the Penalties for Violating Ignition Interlock Requirements?

As detailed in Section 18.2-270.1, Virginia law imposes strict penalties for any violation of ignition interlock requirements. From a legal standpoint, any driver who receives a court order to install an ignition interlock system must act accordingly. If such a driver refuses to install an ignition interlock system — or tampers with or circumvents the system — then he or she may be subject to criminal penalties under Virginia law.

In exact terms, a violation of ignition interlock system requirements is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. The usual state punishment for this type of misdemeanor includes a maximum of one year in jail and $2,500 in criminal fines, either or both.

Let Us Help You Today

If you have legal questions about DUI or ignition interlock systems in Virginia, it can be exceedingly beneficial to speak with a qualified Leesburg DUI and DWI attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP feature the type of experience and qualifications needed to mount a successful criminal defense, including cases of DUI and ignition interlock systems. If you have legal questions about criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.


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