Car Keys and a Glass of Alcohol With a Wooden GavelOne of the many harsh penalties you face if convicted of DUI in Virginia is that you will be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle in order to obtain restricted driving privileges. This is true even if this is your first DUI conviction. You are not permitted to drive at all until you have the device installed on your vehicle. The judge sentencing you will determine how long you must have this device on your vehicle, but it will be for at least six months.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device is a type of breathalyzer that connects to your car’s ignition. You are required to breathe into the device before starting the engine, and if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over 0.02 percent, the device will prevent your vehicle from starting. You must also submit to rolling tests, which are retests approximately every 20 to 30 minutes of driving. If you fail a retest, an alarm sounds, lights flash, and you will be unable to continue driving.

The ignition interlock will also come with an electronic logging device. The electronic log keeps a record of your BAC during attempted starts of your vehicle and rolling tests. It also documents any attempt to circumvent or tamper with the device. The log will be monitored by Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP).

Who Pays for an Ignition Interlock Device?

You must use a court-approved company to install and maintain the device. You are required to pay for its installation and a monthly maintenance fee. Currently, these companies are not charging to install the device, and the monthly maintenance fee is approximately $75 to $80.

Tampering With an Ignition Interlock Device

Under Virginia Code § 18.2-270.1, it is also a crime to tamper with or attempt to circumvent an ignition interlock device. This can include a variety of things, including allowing someone else to give a breath sample, blocking the camera, or breathing through another device. This offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

If you have been charged with DUI in Fairfax or Northern Virginia, or have questions about your obligations to install an ignition interlock device, our experienced DUI attorneys are here to help. Call our office or start an online chat to schedule your free consultation today.