Law Offices of Christie A. Leary P.C.

Fairfax/Manassas Criminal & Personal Injury Blog

Virginia drivers who are confronted with charges related to driving under the influence of alcohol will undoubtedly be aware that they will face certain penalties in the event they are convicted. However, one potential consequence that is often understated and not fully understood is the ignition interlock device. This is placed on the vehicle that the person operates as part of their restricted driving privileges to ensure that he or she has not been drinking before driving.

Prior to operating the vehicle, the driver will have to blow into the machine so the blood alcohol content level can be measured. Drivers who are convicted of a second offense DUI charge within 10 years of the first charge or are convicted of a third or subsequent charge within 10 years will need to have the ignition interlock device placed on the vehicle he or she owns, co-owns or operates. This is a part of the restricted driving privileges or reinstating of full driving privileges.

If the driver has been convicted of a second DUI charge within 10 years, was convicted of a third charge or more within 10 years or was convicted of three separate DUI charges within 10 years, the driver will have to place the device on the vehicle for restricted driving or for full driving privileges. This is required by the Department of Motor Vehicles whether the court mandates it or not.

If there is a violation of the restrictions from the ignition interlock device, the first offense will result in driving privileges revoked for one year. Two or more times will result in the driver's license being revoked for three years. While the license is revoked, there can be no restricted driving privileges.

Many drivers are unaware of the various penalties beyond a fine and jail time that can be part of the penalties for a conviction or convictions for DUI. For drivers who need to use their vehicle, it is important to lodge a sound defense to avoid penalties including the ignition interlock device. The police investigation might not have adhered to the applicable protocol or other mistakes could have been made. These are important when formulating a defense.

No matter the circumstances, one thing is certain: it is key to have legal help from an attorney who is experienced in defending those who have been charged with driving while intoxicated. This will ensure your rights are understood and a defendant takes the best defense path for his or her situation.

Source: dmv.virginia.gov, "Virginia is Tough on Drunk and Drugged Drivers -- Ignition Interlock Device," accessed on Jan. 16, 2017

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