The Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (usually referred to as ASAP) is in place to identify and assist people whose struggles with substance abuse are negatively impacting their lives. However, participation in VASAP is not always a choice. If you have been convicted of a DUI, attending VASAP is a requirement. If you successfully complete the program, there are benefits: the fines and jail sentences related to your conviction will be reduced with greater portions of the fines and jail sentences being suspended.
But unfortunately, the program's mandated rules and requirements can be tough to follow and many people find themselves facing what is commonly known as “VASAP non-compliance.” A VASAP noncompliance violation not only may remove you from the program, but often comes with imposition of active jail sentences and more expensive fines than those you faced for the DUI itself. Moreover, if the court granted you a restricted operator's license conditioned on your successful completion of ASAP, a violation will likely result in the restricted license being revoked. If you are facing a noncompliance issue or charge, you are certainly not alone and a Fairfax DUI attorney may be able to help. Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C. has helped many people facing VASAP noncompliance and we may be able to help you as well.
MEETING ASAP REQUIREMENTS
While by statute the requirement to participate in ASAP can be waived by the court, this practically never happens, particularly if the court has granted you a restricted driver's license as a result of a DUI finding. Even if you are facing a first offense DUI, it is very likely that the court will order you and require your participation in the program. Moreover, you will be placed on probation with ASAP.
Once you are officially enrolled, you can expect the following:
An intake session
The first step in the process is known as intake, where you will be asked an extensive series of questions about your use of drugs and alcohol. During this visit, you will also be assigned a case manager who will determine whether or not drug or alcohol treatment would be in your best interests. Your case manager will also decide how many hours of education you'll need to complete. Nearly everyone is required to complete a minimum of 20 hours of education, but if you have a significant number of past convictions or other issues with your criminal record, you could be required to do more. You must attend all of your required education classes and treatment to complete the program.
Ignition interlock device
An ignition interlock device, which you have to blow into in order to start your vehicle, must be installed as part of the VASAP process. Compliance with ignition interlock device requirements will be monitored through ASAP. These devices can cost hundreds of dollars, so be prepared for the expense. You must use this device properly at all times to successfully complete the program.
A requirement to abstain from drugs and alcohol
In order to successfully complete VASAP, you must also agree to completely abstain from drugs and alcohol while you're in the program.
A court may order that an in-car camera be installed in your vehicle to show proof you are the one actually blowing into the device.
If you are struggling to adhere to these expectations while attending VASAP, and especially if you are facing ASAP noncompliance, contacting a DUI attorney in Fairfax could potentially help your case. Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C. has been helping Northern Virginia residents with noncompliance issues for nearly three decades, so don't hesitate to reach out if you are in need of assistance.
VASAP PROBATION (OR NONCOMPLIANCE)
“VASAP probation” is a phrase we hear commonly because ASAP is in some ways comparable to probation. For one, if you violate any regulations, you will be reported to the court for ASAP noncompliance (or “ASAP non-comp”) by your case manager. Another similarity to probation is that ASAP participants can be required to take a drug or alcohol test without warning while in the program.
Violating ASAP requirements can lead to harsh punishments, so it's important to be aware of the many avenues that can lead to an ASAP violation. Here are some of the most common:
- Missing your intake appointment
- Being charged with a new crime while you are in ASAP
- Failing to attend educational classes. All missed classes must be approved by your case manager ahead of time. If an absence is unapproved, you will not complete VASAP.
- Failing to stay sober during the program. If you fail a drug or alcohol test during VASAP, you won't complete the program.
- Improper use of ignition interlock device. Cheating your ignition interlock device by asking another person to blow into it, trying to remove it from your vehicle, or otherwise tampering with it will result in a violation.
VASAP VIOLATION PENALTIES
Fairfax courts do not look kindly on ASAP violations, so if you are facing one, it is often advisable to seek legal help from a DUI attorney serving Fairfax as soon as possible. If your case manager reports you to the court as ASAP noncompliant, you must attend what is referred to as a Show Cause Hearing. During the hearing, you will have to provide reasons why you should not receive a jail sentence for your violation.
Depending on the circumstances of your violation, you could face the reinstatement of your originally suspended jail sentence as well as any portion of the suspended fine that would have been forgiven had you successfully completed the program. Your previously issued restricted driver's license may get revoked or the judge could extend the duration of your probation.
If you are facing difficulties with VASAP compliance, it's a good idea to get in touch with a Fairfax DUI lawyer. Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C. has decades of experience helping people facing ASAP violations.
Contact John Kassabian today at 703-750-3622.