Richmond Ignition Interlock Devices

An ignition interlock device is one that is used to test you for alcohol before you start your vehicle and even while you drive the vehicle. A DUI lawyer in Richmond explains how the ignition interlock device works.

The device is attached to your vehicle so that if you test positive for even a minor amount of alcohol your vehicle will not start.  If you test positive for alcohol while driving, it will sound an alert, and your horn and lights will not stop until you turn off your vehicle.  You will then have to blow again to restart your vehicle.

The device works like this:

  1. You’re required to breathe into the device, and it will then run a test to determine if your breath level is over a preset limit.
  2. Based on the results of the test the ignition interlock device will either not allow the vehicle to start or allow your car to operate normally.
  3. While driving, you will routinely have to take a breath test.
  4. If that test is positive, you horn will go off and light will flash until you turn the vehicle off.

Once a month you will have to take your vehicle to a monitoring agency so that the results of the ignition interlock device can be reviewed.  If there were positives over the month, they will be reported as a violation and you may be required to appear in Court and face possible punishment.

When Ignition Interlock is Required

An ignition interlock device in Richmond is installed on your vehicle once you’re convicted of a DUI. In Virginia, even a first offense comes with an ignition interlock requirement.  So any time you’re convicted of a DUI in the City of Richmond, an ignition interlock device will be installed on your vehicle if you wish to get a restricted operator’s license to go to and from work, to and from school, things of that nature.

How Long Do You Need An Ignition Interlock

The length of time you’re required to have an ignition interlock device in your vehicle can vary depending on what you’re convicted of. If it’s a standard first offense DUI, you’re required to at least have it on your vehicle for six months. After six months you can petition the court to have it removed. If it’s a second DUI, you’re required to have it for at least a year and then after a year, you can seek to get it removed. Getting the device removed will depend on whether there were any positive results or violations and also that you’ve successfully participating in the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program.

Costs of Installing an Ignition Interlock

The ignition interlock device itself is actually very expensive and can cost anywhere from $300 to $500 to have it installed. You then have to pay for the testing that is done every 30 to 45 days.

Other Alcohol Monitoring Devices in Richmond

Besides the ignition interlock device, Richmond also uses what’s called a SCRAM bracelet. A SCRAM bracelet is a bracelet that’s attached to your ankle.  The bracelet will intermittently test your perspiration to determine if there’s any alcohol on your system. The device is remotely monitored and has an internal modem that sends regular results to the monitoring agency. If there are any positive tests it will be reported to Court and could result in further punishment.

How An Attorney Can Help

An attorney can help in issues with an ignition interlock device in several manners. Number one, the attorney can try and get a charge reduced so that an ignition interlock device is not required. But if an ignition interlock device is required, an attorney can seek to limit how long it’s required to remain on the vehicle.

In addition, an attorney can help you petition the Court to have the device removed.  If you have complied with the alcohol counseling requirements and had no positive tests, an attorney can petition the court to have the device removed after a minimum of six months.

All clients want to avoid having an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle, however, the law now requires installation even on a first offense DUI.  The best way to avoid installation is to retain counsel in an attempt to have the charge reduced.