Virginia is one of a majority of states that has an ignition interlock requirement for all DUI offenses; even a first-time offense. This allows the offender to maintain a sense of freedom and independence while simultaneously allowing the state to monitor the behavior of the driver in order to prevent subsequent DUIs from happening.
There are a few people who look forward to their interlock requirement, seeing it as a second chance to prove themselves and rectify their mistakes. Others, however, will do just about anything to get out of their Virginia ignition interlock requirement, possibly considering the restricted driving privileges offered in place of traditional punishments (suspension of license, jail time, etc.) as a violation of rights. The Commonwealth is so committed to interlocks that if you are caught violating your Virginia ignition interlock requirement you will face:
- First offense: a criminal conviction of the ignition interlock restriction or other restricted license provisions will result in a DMV revocation of your driving privilege for one year.
- Two or more convictions: of violating restricted privileges will result in a three-year driver’s license revocation.
- A denial of your ignition interlock restricted privileges as your violation indicates you are not ready to prove your commitment to sober driving.
Ignition interlock devices are the least restrictive consequence (when you consider jail time or a driver’s license revocation) for a DUI offense, but their presence should never be taken lightly. Though they allow the DUI offender to continue life as normal, the monitoring system is still in place and the state is still being reported to regularly.
Of course, your best choice is not to drive under the influence. But if you make a mistake and end up with an interlock requirement, commit to serving your time with the device and to sober driving from that point forward. Virginia ignition interlock and drunk driving laws simply do not allow room for mistakes when it comes to finding a safe way home if you’ve been drinking.