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Loudoun County Ignition Interlock

Virginia law has been updated to require ignition interlock for anyone that asks for a restricted license even after a first offense DUI. Prior to July 1, 2012, ignition interlock was required for drivers who had received elevated DUIs, multiple DUIs or other circumstances in which a court had ordered the interlock. Prior to 2012, interlock was required only in extreme cases and now interlock is a part of daily Loudoun County DUI attorney’s language that is dealt with in daily practice. To discuss your case and whether you may require an ignition interlock, call and schedule a consultation with an attorney today.

What is An Ignition Interlock?

An ignition interlock is a device that controls the ignition system of a vehicle and only allows the vehicle to operate if a person blows into it and the machine registers less than .02 BAC reading. The driver must enter the vehicle, take the small, handheld device from its cradle, blow into the device, allow it to make a reading and only then will they be cleared to start their vehicle.

Ignition interlock systems vary slightly from provider to provider but they all look and act similarly. Someone needs to blow into the device and then the device either reads the presence of alcohol and locks the vehicle or reads the lack of presence of alcohol and allows the person to drive the vehicle. In addition, an ignition interlock system in Virginia requires a rolling retest. A rolling retest is when the driver must blow into the interlock system after certain period of time to ensure that there is no alcohol in their system. This is done to prevent fraud on the system and to ensure that someone has not had alcohol after starting their car. This is done approximately every 30 minutes.

When Interlock Systems Are Necessary

If you are convicted of a DUI offense and you request a restricted license, you must have an ignition interlock in your vehicle for a minimum of 6 months.

Depending on the scope of your restricted license, the underlying facts related to your DUI case and your driving history, the court may require that the ignition interlock system be in your vehicle for the entire period of your license suspension whether that be 12 months or some additional period of time. The statute allows a minimum of 6 months and the court often views that 6 months as a minimum and may require additional time.

Cost of An Ignition Interlock

The ignition interlock system (IID) does have a cost associated with it. Typically, the cost is between $60 to $80 per-month to have this system calibrated and these calibrations are required as a condition of interlock compliance.

Deciding to Install Ignition Interlock

It is at the discretion of a client after consultation with an experienced Virginia DUI attorney to decide if a restricted license and thus the interlock requirement is right for them. When a person does not work outside the home, does not have regular employment, has no need to drive, or has access to reliable public transportation, there may be an option to simply go without license for that period, not drive a motor vehicle and avoid the equirement for ignition interlock.

This is true for first offense DUI in Virginia. If you never ask for restricted license and you can go 12 months without driving, then after that 12-month period, your license will be fully reinstated. However, if the person asks for a restricted license at any time, they need to install an ignition interlock for a minimum of 6 months.

If someone who is convicted of a DUI asks for restricted license and then later they realize that they do not need it, they can voluntarily give it up. However, if they give up their restricted license they still have to have ignition interlock on their vehicle for 6 months before the DMV can recognize that they are fully cleared as an unrestricted driver. That is certainly something to be aware of before asking for a restricted license.

Other Types of Alcohol Monitoring Devices

Ignition interlock is the most common alcohol related monitoring device that is used. In certain extreme circumstances a Scram bracelet or a similar device may be used. This is typically only on the condition of a bond when the underlying offense involves alcohol abuse or if the person has a history of alcohol abuse. This person may be required to wear the bracelet which will test their sweat for the presence of alcohol. Many jurisdictions require the bracelet in matters of repeat DUI offenses or serious offenses that involve consumption of alcohol but the Scram bracelet is not common in Loudoun County.

How An Attorney Can Help

Typically attorneys are not overly involved in ignition interlock process. However, attorneys who handle DUI cases on a regular basis can help a client connect with the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP). The VASAP provider is the one who provides information on interlock providers and how to accomplish installation and compliance. If a person is interested in making sure that their interlock equipment is installed in a timely manner, it is possible to prequalify for VASAP and prequalify for interlock devices. It does not happen in every case, but it is possible.

It is not possible to have an interlock on your vehicle without a court order. The court order for interlock is part of the restricted license order and therefore the person who needs the ignition interlock goes to court, is convicted with a DUI offense, has a waiting period to process and create a restricted license for the interlock order and then takes that information to VASAP. The VASAP then signs off on it and sends the client to the interlock provider. In Loudoun County, there are a number of interlock providers and the client has the preference to choose where to get the device.

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