New DUI/DWI Legislation in Virginia

On July 1, 2012, new sweeping legislation went into effect requiring ignition interlock installation for all persons convicted of DUI/DWI.  Ignition interlock is a hand-held, one-piece alcohol sensor which is wired into a vehicle’s electrical system, and requires a breath test before allowing the vehicle to be started.  Prior to the enactment of this legislation, ignition interlock installation was only mandatory for repeat offenders and those convicted of DUI/DWI with an elevated blood alcohol concentration (0.15 BAC or higher).  Now, anyone convicted and granted restricted driving privileges will be required to have such a device installed on any vehicle they drive.  Moreover, repeat offenders will be required to have the device installed on all vehicles registered, even partially, in their name.

Prior to the enactment of this new law, the costs associated with a DUI conviction in Virginia were already considerable (to include fines, the costs of mandatory alcohol abuse treatment/VASAP,   increased insurance rates, etc.).   Because the new law also requires the driver to bear the costs of installation, monitoring, and maintenance on these devices, the financial consequences of conviction are more severe than ever.  (There are currently four approved service providers in Virginia, with monthly fees ranging from approximately $80-$90 a month.)

Va. Code §18.2-270.1

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