Fairfax DUI lawyers are very familiar with ignition interlock devices (IID), which require drivers to blow into a breathalyzer before starting their vehicle. Their breath sample must reveal a blood-alcohol content (BAC) level of less than .02 or the vehicle will not start. If a driver attempts to start their vehicle without blowing into the IID, an internal alarm will cause the lights to flash and horn to repeatedly beep.
Virginia’s previous DUI law required IID’s to be installed on any vehicle owned by anyone convicted of a second (or subsequent) DUI within 10 years, or any DUI offender who had a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .15 or more at the time of their arrest (Virginia’s legal limit for a DUI charge is .08). However, as of July 1, 2012, this will no longer be the case. On March 7, 2012, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signed House Bill 279/Senate Bill 378 into effect. This law changes the IID requirements so that every person who is convicted of a DUI in Virginia must have an IID installed on their vehicle – including first-time DUI offenders.
Image via http://www.sxc.hu/.
There’s no denying that drunk driving is a serious problem. According to statistics provided by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), there were over 29,000 Virginia DUI convictions in 2010, and nearly 300 people lost their lives in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents. Yet many people, including some Fairfax DUI lawyers, question the appropriateness of the new law. Those against the bill feel that Virginia’s DUI laws are strict enough, and that people who have made just a single bad choice that resulted in a DUI shouldn’t be prevented from having even one drink before driving. They also argue that the devices don’t necessarily stop drunk drivers, as they can simply have someone else blow into the breathalyzer for them.
Yet the law has many supporters, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Those in favor of the law point to a study done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which found that people with interlock devices installed on their vehicles were less likely to become repeat DUI offenders. A MADD spokesperson said that the devices save lives, and that MADD has been advocating for the law change for years.
If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving in Virginia, being required to install an IID may not be your only consequence. In Virginia, DUI convictions can result in significant fines and jail time. Don’t go it alone. If you’re facing DUI charges, contact Fairfax DUI Lawyers The Wilson Law Firm. The Wilson Law Firm’s skilled DUI attorneys have extensive experience defending those charged with drunk driving in Virginia. Click here or call (877) 243-1926 for a free DUI charge consultation.
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