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New DUI ignition interlock law goes into effect in Virginia

DMV will now require all first offenders to install an ignition interlock device

A new law has gone into effect that will require people convicted of a DUI to have an ignition interlock system installed in his or her car, according to WCYB News. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles will now require anybody convicted of a first DUI offense to have the interlock systems installed on any vehicle that that person operates, regardless of court orders. The move follows similar adoptions of ignition interlock systems by other states.


Ignition interlocks mandatory

Under the previous system, a court could order somebody convicted of a DUI to have an ignition interlock system installed in his or her car in order to drive under a restricted license. However, the systems were only mandatory if a court ordered them. The ignition interlock is a handheld device installed in a car that drivers blow into. If their alcohol level is below a preset threshold, the car will start. If the blood alcohol level of a driver is at or above the preset level, the driver will not be able to use the car.

With the new law that has gone into effect July 1, all drivers who have been convicted of their first DUI offense will now be required to have an ignition interlock installed, regardless of whether or not a court has ordered one.

States adopt ignition interlock rules

Many other states have already adopted the ignition interlock system as a way to keep roads safe while still allowing people with DUI convictions to get on with their lives. Recently, neighboring West Virginia allowed DUI-convicts to opt into an ignition interlock program more quickly, while Ohio is currently working on its own law requiring first-time DUI offenders to have the interlock systems installed, according to Tech Hive.

Advocates of the devices say that ignition interlocks also help make sure people with DUI convictions can keep their lives on track. Rather than just taking licenses away from DUI offenders, the interlock systems allow them to still commute to work, thus allowing them to hold down jobs and not have to worry about whether a conviction will lead to unemployment.

DUI charges

The above story highlights just how seriously Virginia takes DUI offenses. A DUI charge and conviction can have serious consequences affecting employability, social standing, and even insurance costs. While keeping Virginia's roads safe is important, it is also important to make sure that peoples' rights are protected, including the rights of those charged with a DUI offense. Anybody who is currently facing a DUI charge should contact a qualified criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer will use his expertise to help ensure that his client's rights are protected and that he or she is treated fairly by the legal system.

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