Ignition Interlock Laws in Virginia
Virginia courts may require the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) for driving under the influence (DUI) convictions. In addition to the IID, offenders are required to install electronic log devices in their vehicles. Offenders must enroll in and be supervised by the state’s alcohol safety action program (ASAP). Offenders must obtain IIDs and electronic logs from service providers that are approved by the State of Virginia such as Lifesafer Ignition Interlock.
The IID is connected to the vehicle’s ignition system. Before starting the vehicle, the offender submits a breath sample into the device. The IID measures the offender’s breath alcohol content and the electronic log records the results. If the IID detects a breath alcohol content that is higher than 0.02, the vehicle will not start. While the offender is operating the vehicle, the IID alerts the driver to submit a breath sample. These breath samples, or “rolling re-tests,” are required at random times. The results of the breath samples are recorded by the electronic log. If the offender’s breath alcohol content is higher than 0.02 or if the offender fails to submit a rolling re-test breath sample, the IID flashes the vehicle’s lights and sounds the horn until the offender turns off the vehicle or submits a clean breath test.
Virginia DUI laws require courts to order the installation of an IID as a condition of receiving a restricted license or to regain regular driving privileges. IIDs must be installed on any and all vehicles that are wholly or partially owned by or registered to the offender. The court determines the period of time for the IID restriction depending on the circumstances of the case and the offender’s prior record of DUI convictions. The restriction is no less than six months and no more than the original period of suspension. The restriction may be extended if the offender is convicted of any DUI-related offenses during the IID restriction period.
At the request of the offender’s employer, the court may allow the offender to operate an employer-owned vehicle that is not equipped with an IID. If the court expressly allows the offender to operate the employer-owned vehicle, the offender is restricted to operating the vehicle solely for employment purposes. If the vehicle is owned by a business that is wholly or partially owned or controlled by the offender, the court will not allow the offender to operate the employer-owned vehicle. Offenders are restricted from operating school buses, school vehicles and commercial vehicles for the duration of the IID restriction.
For first-time DUI offenses, the court may order the installation of the IID. For second and subsequent DUI convictions or for cases involving a blood alcohol content that is higher than 0.15, Virginia law requires courts to order the installation of the IID. The court may order that the device be installed immediately at the time of conviction or the offender may be granted a period of time to have the device installed. At the time of the court order, the offender must pay a $20 fee to the court. Offenders must submit proof of IID installation to their ASAP supervisors.
The offenders may purchase or lease the IID from the service provider. The offender is responsible for any and all costs associated with the IID, including purchasing, leasing, servicing, monitoring, maintaining and any other fees that may be required by the service provider. The offender must have the IID monitored and calibrated by the service provider every 30 days. Proof of service must be submitted to the court and the ASAP supervisor as required.
The electronic log records the offender’s blood alcohol content when the vehicle is started, including attempts to start; the results of the rolling re-tests and attempts to tamper with, circumvent or bypass the IID. Virginia requires providers to submit all electronic logs every thirty days, (five day grace period).
Failure to install the ignition interlock device or failure to have the IID monitored and calibrated as required results in the revocation of driving privileges. Any individual who starts or attempts to start the IID-equipped vehicle on behalf of the offender commits a Class 1 misdemeanor and is subject to legal action. Any person who tampers with, circumvents or bypasses the IID commits a Class 1 misdemeanor and is subject to legal action. Providing a vehicle that is not equipped with an IID to an individual with an IID restriction is a Class 1 misdemeanor and results in legal action.