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Virginia DUI Laws – What It Means For You

Virginia has been getting tougher on drunk drivers. Effective July 1, 2012, all first time DUI offenders, no matter the procured blood alcohol level (BAC) at time of arrest, must install an interlock ignition system on their vehicle. This penalty will serve as an addition to the current severe punishment. Previously, this restriction was limited to repeat offenders or first time offenders who had a BAC of .15 or higher. The new penalty for first time offenders is an effort to further deter citizens from drinking and driving.

How does this affect you if you are convicted of a DUI? More Money. More Restriction. More Hassle. Those convicted of a DUI after July 1, 2012 — regardless of the date of arrest — will be required to place the ignition interlock system into every vehicle owned, operated, or registered to them for at least six months if they obtain a restricted driver’s license. The interlock system requires the driver to breathe into the machine to start the vehicle and that the driver periodically blow into the machine while driving. If the machine detects any amount of alcohol, the vehicle will fail to start or fail to continue to operate. Along with activity limitations, the new law carries a hefty financial burden. Typically the interlock system costs about $80 a month to lease and maintain. This does not include the fee to install and remove the system, which typically costs $80 – $200 each depending on the type of vehicle and the amount of time it takes to install. In addition to the mandated interlock system requirement, convicted drivers face jail time, large court costs, a restricted license, fees associated with reinstating your driver’s license, and required educational programs. The severity of these penalties depends on the number of previous offenses and the blood alcohol content at the time of arrest.

If you have recently been arrested for a DUI, confer with a DUI attorney to help you achieve the best possible outcome in this difficult landscape!

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An outstanding job on my case to have custody, visitation and support decided in my home state instead of Virginia after I separated from military service.- A.E.