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Ignition Interlock in Manassas DUI Cases

An ignition interlock device is a machine that is installed on a vehicle, which is connected to the ignition system. Every time a person wants to start their car, they have to blow into the device to demonstrate that they do not have any alcohol in their system. If there’s even a trace of alcohol in their system, the car won’t start. The second thing that will happen is that the ignition interlock device will send a signal to the VASAP office indicating that there’s been a violation, which without the help of a Manassas DUI lawyer, could lead to increased penalties including anything from potentially triggering additional fines, to a loss of restricted driver’s license, to beginning the ignition interlock program over, all the way up to a person being incarcerated.

When Ignition Interlock is Needed

Under Virginia Law, any person convicted of a DUI offense is required to have that ignition interlock installed on their vehicle before the person can get a restricted driver’s license and it has to remain there for at least 6 months before a full license can be given back to the accused, at the end of their suspension period.

Even if a person chooses not to have a driver’s license and were not to drive during their 12 months’ suspension after a DUI, when they go to re-apply for their license, the DMV will tell them that they still have to have ignition interlock on their vehicle for 6 months in conjunction with a restricted license before a full license can be given to them. Anytime there’s a DUI, it’s going to be installed and there’s no avoiding it.

Financial Cost of Ignition Interlock

There is an installation fee as well as a monthly fee for ignition interlock. If a person violates and has to start over, the overall cost, of course, is higher.

Other Alcohol Monitoring Devices

In addition to the traditional ignition interlock, VASAP now also uses a device with a camera that snaps a picture of the person taking the test to insure that it is the defendant.  There is also a SCRAM bracelet used in some cases which is attached to a person

How An Attorney Can Help

Most of the time, when an attorney is involved in a case where there’s an issue with ignition interlock, it’s in the context of a violation. In every kind of DUI case, there’s going to be ignition interlock placed on the vehicle and this is a process that gets completed through the VASAP office. There’s nothing that the lawyer can do to prevent it from occurring or from reducing the impact aside from having the case reduced or dismissed.

However, working with an attorney can still be helpful in these sorts of situations. The ignition interlock device, like any other kind of device, has sensitivities and calibrations and maintenance that has to be done on it. They can have false positives at times. It can go off even when it’s not being used. An attorney can find out particulars of whatever the alleged violation was, helping that person put their best foot forward.

Fighting Ignition Interlock

No one is excited about having the ignition interlock device installed. It is probably the most onerous part of the DUI penalties of Virginia outside of the 12 months’ license suspension. If it can be avoided, the vast majority of people are certainly interested in avoiding it. With that said, the only way to avoid ignition interlock under the current state law in Virginia is to have the charge reduced to something like reckless driving or have it dismissed entirely.

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