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Federal government wants states to crack down on drunk driving

The consequences for drunk driving convictions are very harsh in Virginia Beach. Penalties tend to include fines, license suspension, the completion of an alcohol safety program, jail time and even the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.

Virginia is one of about 20 states that force all DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently announced that it is encouraging all states to do the same; many states currently only require repeat offenders to install interlocks.

Ignition interlock devices prevent vehicles from starting if they detect alcohol on the breath of the driver.

Ignition interlocks are very expensive for drivers, as they generally have to pay for installation and maintenance. Many people argue that the device is far too tough of a punishment for first-time offenders, especially for those who were barely over the legal limit of .08 percent blood-alcohol content at the time of arrest.

NHTSA, however, is very focused on combating drunk driving, and as a result the penalties for DUI convictions are likely to continue to become stricter.

Those who face DUI charges in Virginia need to be aware that these are very serious charges. Many people assume that a first-time, low BAC DUI charge is relatively minor, but the reality is that a conviction can have far-reaching effects. Those who face drunk driving charges often benefit from talking to a DUI attorney about their rights in order to decide how to best resolve their cases.

Source: NBC, "Feds want ignition interlocks for drunk drivers," Paul A. Einstein, Dec. 19, 2013

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