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“Just Breathe Into the Steering Wheel, Virginia”: Ignition Interlocks

Perhaps you have friends or relatives who have been found guilty of DUI in Fairfax, and they have been required to have ignition interlock devices (IIDs) put on all their vehicles. Exactly what are they, and why must they be used?

Driving Conditions

As a condition for maintaining restricted driving privileges or regaining full restoration of these privileges, people who are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) for the first time must get an ignition interlock device installed on the vehicle that they primarily use. Second and subsequent offenses result in convicted driver having to install such devices on all vehicles they own, co-own, or drive. If you drive a company vehicle your employer will need to come to court to explain to the Judge you need to be able to drive the company car without interlock installed.

An ignition interlock device is basically a Breathalyzer: the individual breathes into the device, which measures the blood alcohol content (BAC). If the BAC is over a preset limit—usually from .02% to .04%, depending on the conditions set by the magistrate or your case—the car will not start. You must blow in the machine to start the car and at various times while driving to be able to continue operating the vehicle.

What Are Virginia’s Laws Regarding IIDs?

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), persons with a first-time DUI conviction who violate the IID or other restrictions imposed on them lose their driving privileges for one year. Subsequent violations result in a loss of driving privileges for three years.

Considering that the alternative to using an IID is not being able to drive at all, the IID is a relatively minor expense and inconvenience. How much is your freedom worth?

If you have been charged with DUI in Northern Virginia, contact The Law Office of Ann Thayer. Call us at (703) 940-0001, and we’ll set you up with a FREE, immediate, no-obligation consultation.