Tag: restricted license

Virginia Requires Ignition Interlock for DUI Convictions

VA Drunk Drivers Must Install Ignition Interlock Device

Virginia DUI VA DWI
The driver must blow into the ignition interlock device before the vehicle will start.

Beginning July 1, 2012, any person convicted of DUI in Virginia must have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle in order to be eligible for a restricted driver’s license. Prior to recent changes in the law, an ignition interlock device was only required for convicted, first-time drunk driving offenders with a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent or higher and for all second and subsequent offenders. The legal driving limit is 0.08.

An ignition interlock system is similar to a breathalyzer but it is installed in a motor vehicle. The person operating the motor vehicle must blow into the device prior to starting it. If the interlock system detects alcohol content above a 0.02, the device will prevent the motor vehicle from starting. The device then asks for a reading every 20 to 30 minutes while the car is being driven in what is known as the “rolling test.” This is to ensure that the driver has not started drinking after turning on the vehicle. If a person fails the “rolling test,” the vehicle’s horn and lights will activate until the driver shuts off the car. Violations are reported to the driver’s VASAP Case Manager when the device is calibrated every month.

In Virginia, a person convicted of drunk driving can choose from four state-approved companies to install the ignition interlock device. These four companies have locations all across the Commonwealth. At the moment, none of them are charging an installation fee, but all four charge approximately $60 every month to monitor the system. By law, these companies are allowed to charge a maximum of $80 a month in monitoring fees.

Bart Chucker, a former partner of the firm, recently estimated in a Richmond-Times Dispatch article that more than 15,000 first-time DUI offenders will be affected by the ignition interlock system by the end of the year. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, 28,162 people were convicted of DUI in the state in 2011.

Persons convicted of a first offense DUI must have an interlock device installed in any motor vehicle driven as a condition of receiving a restricted license. This requirement is limited to motor vehicles driven by that person. A court may allow that person to drive a motor vehicle without an ignition interlock device if that person has to drive a vehicle during work hours as a condition of their employment. This limited exception does not apply if the person has an ownership interest in the business.

The ignition interlock requirements differ for persons convicted of second offense DUI. Persons convicted of second offense DUI must have an ignition interlock device installed in every motor vehicle owned or registered to that person. As a result, it may be wise for that person to own one motor vehicle at the time of their conviction. This will save that person the expense of installing the ignition interlock device on multiple vehicles.

Those convicted of driving under the influence will now be paying more money out of pocket as a result of the new ignition interlock requirement, making it more important than ever to seek quality legal representation if you’ve been charged with driving under the influence in Virginia.

The Weiland Firm, PLC is a leading firm of Virginia DUI attorneys

Call (804) 355-8037 for a free consultation

Virginia DUI and Reckless Driving: License Suspension

Drivers Risk a Suspended License for DWI or Reckless Driving in VA

Virginia judges are authorized to suspend a person’s driving privileges within the state for convictions of reckless driving by speed, reckless driving resulting from an accident, and driving under the influence. Any license suspension imposed for reckless driving is left to the discretion of the court and may be as long as six months. Out-of-state drivers convicted of DUI in Virginia face a mandatory one year suspension of license. Such suspensions only affect a person’s ability to drive in Virginia. A Virginia judge cannot suspend an out-of-state driver’s license to drive in any other state. As a result, a driver with a Pennsylvania license convicted of a DUI in Virginia can operate a car in any state, except Virginia. However, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles may communicate the suspension to Pennsylvania, at which point the appropriate government entity in Pennsylvania can choose to suspend that person’s driver’s license.

Virginia judges are barred by law from seizing an out-of-state driver’s license after suspending that person’s privilege to drive in Virginia. The applicable part of Virginia Code §46.2-398 states:

For any revocation or suspension of a privilege to drive in Virginia of a person who does not have a Virginia driver’s license but who does have a valid driver’s license from another jurisdiction, the court shall not order the physical surrender of such license.

This prevents Virginia courts from physically taking a person’s out-of-state driver’s license once the court suspends or revokes that person’s driving privileges in Virginia. So, the court cannot take a driver’s North Carolina license after convicting that person of reckless driving by speed. The court may only suspend that person’s ability to drive in Virginia. The person can drive in North Carolina or any other state up until their North Carolina driver’s license is suspended by the appropriate government entity in North Carolina.

Courts may issue out-of-state motorists restricted driving privileges in Virginia. This typically happens when a person possesses a driver’s license from a bordering state—Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, or West Virginia—and works in Virginia. For instance, a Virginia judge is able to grant restricted driving privileges to a person convicted of DUI in Virginia who is licensed in Maryland and commutes to Caroline County, VA. Under this scenario, the person would be permitted to drive from Maryland to their place of employment in Caroline County. They may also be allowed to drive to and from school or be granted a variety of other restricted driving privileges as deemed worthy by the court.

A reckless driving or DUI conviction in Virginia can change your entire livelihood, especially your ability to travel freely to work, school, or to the doctor. And driving on a suspended license will only compound your legal woes down the line. Do not risk having your driving privileges suspended in a Virginia courtroom. Contact an experienced attorney if you’ve been charged with a DUI or reckless driving in Virginia.

The Weiland Firm, PLC is a leading firm of Virginia DWI and Reckless Driving Lawyers

Call (804) 355-8037 for a free consultation

Second Offense DUI Reduced to First Offense in VA Court


Jurisdiction and names omitted to protect the privacy of our clients.

On April 13, 2012, our law firm represented a client charged with committing a second offense DUI.  If convicted as charged, the client faced a mandatory minimum jail sentence and suspension of his license for a period of 3 years along with ignition interlock as a condition of a restricted license. The Weiland Firm, PLC was able to get the charge reduced to a first offense.   As a result, the client received no jail time, no ignition interlock, received a license suspension for one year as opposed to 3 years and was granted an immediate restricted license.