New DUI Law on Restricted License and Ignition Interlock – Effective July 1, 2020
As you may know, an “ignition interlock” machine is a machine that requires a driver to blow into prior to starting the motor vehicle. As an experience DUI Lawyer Fairfax Virginia can explain, if any alcohol is detected, the car will not start. Also, the machine reports a positive alcohol test to a Probation Officer (usually in DUI cases that officer is the Alcohol Safety Action Program “ASAP.”)
The first reference for an ignition interlock machine goes back to 1995. So, these machines have been in existence for 25+ years. A bill which will become effective on July 1, 2020, does a massive overhaul of the restricted license and interlock penalties. Before explaining what it does, it would be best to explain what existing law is. Under existing law, if person has a first offense DUI and a blood alcohol level of < .15, the defendant does not have to have an interlock if he agrees not to drive for a year. If he wants to drive, he can request a restricted license. Then an ignition interlock machine will be required for at least 6 months, but most Judges require one year. That restricted license will designate when and where he can drive. Only certain types of driving are allowed. The most common are to and from work, during work for work purposes, to and from ASAP, to and from medical appointments and to and from picking up children at school / day care. If a person has a blood alcohol level of .15 or higher, he must have an interlock for at least 6 months (usually a year is required by a Judge), even if he does not want to drive. The same rule applies to people with more than one DUI conviction within a 10-year period.
Under a new law coming into effect on July 1, 2020, an up to date DUI Lawyer Fairfax Virginia will know that the law is now much more lenient. Now, instead of having categories for reasons to drive, a defendant can drive for any reason IF he has an interlock in his car. This came about because over the years, so many categories for driving were allowed that the categories became unmanageable. In recent years the legislature added church, job interviews, care for elderly parents, etc. In the end, practically speaking, the only thing that a defendant could not do is drive for fun. In addition, strictly read, the old law did not allow driving for groceries or take-out food. Thus, people in rural areas were forced to cheat in order to eat. This new rule makes sense. The defendant can drive anywhere at anytime because there is an interlock in the car and the public can rest assured that the defendant is sober.
Some other odds and ends about this. The new law does one thing to stiffen the penalties. Current law requires ignition interlock for 6 months. This new law says it can be for only 6 months but ONLY if there are no positive alcohol tests. Otherwise it must be a year.
Here is another significant change for defendants convicted of a second or subsequent DUI in 10 years or someone with a .15 blood alcohol level or greater. The Defendant or his/her DUI Lawyer Fairfax Virginia can request that the Court grant a restricted license with interlock (with no restricted hours or required categories of driving), IF they are abstinent from alcohol AND IF they use a “remote alcohol monitoring device.” These devices are usually ankle bracelets that can detect alcohol from the sweat on a person’s leg. They will report the presence of alcohol to the Probation Officer, which is usually the ASAP program.
Here is a copy of the new law. Bring this to your DUI Lawyer Fairfax Virginia and have him/her explain your options if he/she is unable to get your charge dismissed at trial or reduced to Reckless pursuant to a plea deal. Remember that italics is new language and strike throughs delete old language.
§ 18.2-270.1. Ignition interlock systems; penalty.
- A. For purposes of this section and § 18.2-270.2:
“Commission” means the Commission on VASAP.
“Department” means the Department of Motor Vehicles.
“Ignition interlock system” means a device that (i) connects a motor vehicle ignition system to an analyzer that measures a driver’s blood alcohol content; (ii) prevents a motor vehicle ignition from starting if a driver’s blood alcohol content exceeds 0.02 percent; and (iii) 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.
“Remote alcohol monitoring device” means an unsupervised mobile testing device with the ability to confirm the location and presence of alcohol in a person and that is capable of scheduled, random, and on-demand tests that provide immediate, or as-requested, results. A testing device may be worn or used by persons ordered by the court to provide measurements of the presence of alcohol in their blood.
“Rolling retest” means a test of the vehicle operator’s blood alcohol content required at random intervals during operation of the vehicle, which triggers the sounding of the horn and flashing of lights if (i) the test indicates that the operator has a blood alcohol content which exceeds 0.02 percent or (ii) the operator fails to take the test.
- B. In addition to any penalty provided by law for a conviction under § 18.2-51.4 or 18.2-266 or a substantially similar ordinance of any county, city, or town, any court of proper jurisdiction shall, as a condition of a restricted license, prohibit an offender from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with a functioning, certified ignition interlock system for any period of time not to exceed the period of license suspension and restriction, not less than six consecutive months without alcohol-related violations of the interlock requirements. The court shall, as a condition of a restricted license for a conviction under § 18.2-51.4, a second or subsequent offense of § 18.2-266 or a substantially similar ordinance of any county, city, or town, or as a condition of license restoration pursuant to subsection C of § 18.2-271.1 or § 46.2-391, require that such a system be installed on each motor vehicle, as defined in § 46.2-100, owned by or registered to the offender, in whole or in part, for
suchany period of time not less than six consecutive months without alcohol-related violations of the interlock requirements. Such condition shall be in addition to any purposes for which a restricted license may be issued pursuant to § 18.2-271.1. TheWhenever an ignition interlock system is required, the court may order the installation of an ignition interlock system to commence immediately upon conviction. A fee of $20 to cover court and administrative costs related to the ignition interlock system shall be paid by any such offender to the clerk of the court. The court shall require the offender to install an electronic log device with the ignition interlock system on a vehicle designated by the court to measure the blood alcohol content at each attempted ignition and random rolling retest during operation of the vehicle. The offender shall be enrolled in and supervised by an alcohol safety action program pursuant to § 18.2-271.1 and to conditions established by regulation under § 18.2-270.2 by the Commission during the period for which the court has ordered installation of the ignition interlock system. The offender shall be further required to provide to such program, at least quarterly during the period of court ordered ignition interlock installation, a printout from such electronic log indicating the offender’s blood alcohol content during such ignitions, attempted ignitions, and rolling retests, and showing attempts to circumvent or tamper with the equipment. The period of time during which the offender (i) is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with an ignition interlock system or (ii) is required to have an ignition interlock system installed on each motor vehicle owned by or registered to the offender, in whole or in part, shall be calculated from the date the offender is issued a restricted license by the court; however, such period of time shall be tolled upon the expiration of the restricted license issued by the court until such time as the person is issued a restricted license by the Department.
- C. However, upon motion of an offender, if (i) a conviction was under § 18.2-266 or a substantially similar ordinance of any county, city, or town; (ii) the conviction was for a first offense; (iii) the offender was an adult at the time of the offense; and (iv) the offender’s blood alcohol content was less than 0.15, the only restriction of a restricted license that the court shall impose is to prohibit the offender from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with a functioning, certified ignition interlock system for not less than 12 consecutive months without alcohol-related violations of the interlock requirements.
- D. In any case in which the court requires the installation of an ignition interlock system, the court shall order the offender not to operate any motor vehicle that is not equipped with such a system for the period of time that the interlock restriction is in effect. The clerk of the court shall file with the Department of Motor Vehicles a copy of the order, which shall become a part of the offender’s operator’s license record maintained by the Department. The Department shall issue to the offender for the period during which the interlock restriction is imposed a restricted license which shall appropriately set forth the restrictions required by the court under this subsection and any other restrictions imposed upon the offender’s driving privilege, and shall also set forth any exception granted by the court under subsection
FI. D.E. The court may, upon motion of an offender who is ineligible to receive a restricted license in accordance with subsection C, order that the offender (i) use a remote alcohol monitoring device for a period of time coextensive with the period of time of the prohibition imposed under subsection B and (ii) refrain from alcohol consumption during such period of time. Additionally, upon such motion and pursuant to § 18.2-271.1, the court may issue a restricted license to operate a motor vehicle for any purpose to a person who is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with a functioning, certified ignition interlock system when such person is ordered to use a remote alcohol monitoring device pursuant to this subsection and has a functioning, certified ignition interlock system installed on each motor vehicle, as defined in § 46.2-100, owned by or registered to the offender, in whole or in part.
A fee of $20 to cover court and administrative costs related to the remote alcohol monitoring device shall be paid by any such offender to the clerk of the court. The offender shall be enrolled in and supervised by an alcohol safety action program pursuant to § 18.2-271.1 and shall comply with all conditions established by regulation under § 18.2-270.2 by the Commission during the period for which the court has ordered the use of a remote alcohol monitoring device. The offender shall be further required to provide to such program, at least quarterly during the period of time the offender is ordered to use a remote alcohol monitoring device, a copy of the data from such device indicating the offender’s blood alcohol content and showing attempts to circumvent or tamper with the device. The period of time during which the offender is required to use a remote alcohol monitoring device shall be calculated from the date the offender is issued a restricted license by the court; however, such period of time shall be tolled upon the expiration of the restricted license issued by the court until such time as the person is issued a restricted license by the Department.
After reading this, I am sure you are confused. That is why it is always better to have a DUI Lawyer Fairfax Virginia on your side when going to court. Contact us today at the office of Dave Albo – Attorney.