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Virginia toughens ignition interlock regulations

Virginia has some of the very toughest DUI laws in the nation. Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently put his signature on regulations designed to enhance the state's ignition interlock program.

The devices are installed in vehicles of drivers who have been convicted of a DUI offense. Before a vehicle can be started, drivers are required to blow into the device. If alcohol is detected, the ignition interlock disables the vehicle.

The new regulations will require ignition interlocks to have cameras pointed at drivers as they give their breath samples. In that way, it is hoped, fewer people will be tempted to try to circumvent the device by having a sober person blow into the ignition interlock.

“The ignition interlock camera takes a picture of the driver’s seat whenever a breath test is submitted, or whenever a rolling re-test is prompted by the interlock device,” a spokesperson for the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program said.

On the state website, the Department of Motor Vehicles points out that those convicted of a first DUI offense will be required to have the device installed on at least one vehicle as a condition of obtaining restricted driving privileges. Those who are convicted of a second or third drunk driving charge within 10 years must have the devices installed on every vehicle they own or co-own or operate.

The ignition interlocks come with installation and monthly maintenance fees.

Anyone facing Virginia’s harsh drunken driving penalties can speak with a skilled Virginia Beach attorney experienced in DUI defense; someone with a track record of helping clients retain their freedom and driving privileges.

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