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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IGNITION INTERLOCK SYSTEMS FOR DUIS IN VIRGINIA

Posted by John A. Kassabian | May 26, 2022

What if you are convicted of a DUI, but you still need to drive to work? What does the Commonwealth of Virginia expect you to do? Quit your job? Sit at home for a year (if it's your first offense) or three years (if it's your second offense)?

There is a way that you can drive on a restricted license. Consult with John Kassabian from Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C., in Fairfax, VA, to learn more about whether you may be eligible to drive with an ignition interlock device during the time when your license is restricted due to DUI.

WHAT IS AN IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE?

Simply put, an ignition interlock device is like a breathalyzer that's installed in your vehicle. You must blow into the device and pass the breath alcohol content test for your vehicle to start. Some ignition interlock devices require that you blow into them periodically while your vehicle is in operation. This is meant to deter people from having a companion blow into the device on their behalf to start the vehicle.

If a driver fails a breath test, the court will be informed of the failed test. The court will likely issue a probation violation charge against the driver for being in violation of the ignition interlock device court order and require them to show cause why a jail sentence and/or fine should not be imposed. 

Additionally, if the court finds the driver in violation of the ignition operator's license order, their restricted operator's license may get revoked, and the driver may be found in non-compliance with the Virginia Alcohol Safety Program (ASAP)—meaning they will have to start the program all over again through the VA Department of Motor Vehicles.  One failed interlock test is very serious and may lead to a jail sentence and loss of driving privileges. 

VIRGINIA DUI LAWS AND IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICES

If you have been enrolled in ASAP, you may be eligible to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle. The ASAP program monitors ignition interlock devices in conjunction with the DMV, in accordance with Virginia interlock laws.

If you have been approved to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, there are a number of procedures that you must follow. You have to work with an approved service provider of ignition interlock devices in Virginia. You only have 30 days in which to get the ignition interlock device installed after a court authorizes a restricted driver's license.  Additionally, you will need to confirm with ASAP that the ignition interlock has been installed, satisfying the ignition interlock device court order.  

Your vehicle must also be inspected to show that it is in good repair, using a special checklist developed by ASAP. If your vehicle does not pass the inspection, the device will not be installed on it.

WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING WITH YOU TO HAVE AN IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE INSTALLED

The prospect of losing one's license or having it restricted by an ignition interlock device compels some people to attempt to find ways around the restrictions imposed. That's why there are so many requirements that surround the process of getting such a device installed.

For example, the offender must bring “adequate proof of identity” to both the installation and the initial calibration appointment. Offenders must also show proof of vehicle ownership (or that they have permission to operate the vehicle) with their registration or title that includes the vehicle's VIN number. If the vehicle doesn't belong to the offender, they must bring a “notarized affidavit, approved by the commission [ASAP], from the registered owner” that demonstrates that permission has been granted to install the device on the vehicle. In some circumstances, the court may require that a camera be installed in your vehicle to ensure you are the actual person blowing into the ignition interlock device prior to the start of your vehicle.

A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY CAN HELP

If you have been charged with DUI, an attorney can help you figure out the best defense and work with the court to help you potentially get enrolled in ASAP and be approved for an ignition interlock device. Criminal defense lawyer for Prince William and Fairfax Counties, John Kassabian of Kassabian & Kassabian, PLC, can advise you as you go through the process.  Contact Kassabian & Kassabian for a free consultation.

About the Author

John A. Kassabian

John A. Kassabian joined the family firm in 2002 after having served as a Prosecutor in Fairfax County and Prince William County. Specializing in criminal defense, traffic defense and civil related matters, John has an extensive criminal law background and has handled a wide variety of cases for ...

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