Most vehicle operators are unaware of Virginia’s ignition-interlock penalty. According to the Virginia Code Statute 81.2-270.1, the “Ignition interlock system” is a device that connects a motor vehicle ignition system to an analyzer that measures a driver’s blood alcohol content. It prevents a motor vehicle ignition from starting if a driver’s blood alcohol content exceeds 0.02 percent. The ignition interlock system is equipped with the ability to perform a rolling retest and to electronically log the blood alcohol content during ignition, attempted ignition and rolling retest. A “Rolling retest” tests the vehicle operator’s blood alcohol content at random intervals during the operation of the vehicle. If the test indicates that the operator has a blood alcohol content which exceeds 0.02 percent or the operator fails to take the test the vehicle’s lights will flash and the horn will sound.
The new law can affect first time offenders and will definitely affect second and subsequent offenders. This is not a required penalty for first offenders, but it can be ordered at the courts’ discretion. The Ignition Interlock penalty is a mandatory penalty in addition to any penalty initially imposed for those convicted of violating §18.2-51.4; maiming of another resulting from driving while intoxicated and/or §18.2-266; driving while intoxicated or a significantly comparable ordinance of any county, city or town.
In addition to the criminal penalties, this is a very costly penalty that should deter any driver from drinking and driving. If the court imposes this penalty, court ignition interlock related court costs of $20 will be required at the time of conviction. It could cost $50-$200 or more to install the system, along with an additional $50-$100 monthly rental fee for the device. Other costs associated with this device are the cost of calibration, record download, and device reset, all of which are required under the terms of the program.
Drivers affected by the steep costs associated with this penalty may think twice before getting behind the wheel of a car with a .15 alcohol level because they will be required by law to have the ignition interlock system installed in any vehicle registered in their name. Once the system is installed the driver must maintain an alcohol level less than .02 in order to start and continue to operate the vehicle.
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.