Ignition Interlock

Ignition interlock devices

An ignition interlock device is a type of breathalyzer that connects to the automobile's ignition. The breathalyzer analyzes the driver's blood alcohol content. The device will prevent the automobile from starting if the BAC reading on the device is greater than .02%. The device contains an electronic log of the blood alcohol content during ignition, attempted ignition and "rolling retest". The rolling retest requires a retest every 20-30 minutes while the car is moving. Failure of the "rolling retest" will result in the car alarm sound and flashing of its lights, pursuant to VA code section 18.2 – 270.1.

In other words the interlock device will not allow the automobile to start if the reading is over .02% BAC. The log containing the results must be reported by Virginia law.

In Virginia, even for a first offense DUI, there is at least a six month ignition interlock requirement; therefore, all drivers convicted of a DUI must have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle.

Tampering with an ignition interlock device

Virginia law prohibits any person from tampering with an ignition interlock device. Tampering or even circumventing the device is a crime punishable as a class I misdemeanor. Any person who either attempts or does start an automobile by providing a sample to the device in an attempt to start the car for a person who is prohibited from driving a vehicle without properly using an interlock device is subject to criminal penalties as well.

The cost of installing and maintaining an ignition interlock device

In Virginia, the driver is required to pay for the cost of the installation of the device and also the maintenance of the device. The monthly fee monitoring costs are typically about $75-$80. Currently most of these companies are not charging an installation fee.

Timing issues related to the installation of the interlock device

it is important to understand that upon conviction the driver may not operate a vehicle that does not have an ignition interlock device (there are rare exceptions). Therefore, a driver convicted of a DUI may not drive at all even with the restricted driver's license until the ignition interlock device is installed on his vehicle. Within 30 days of the order from the court requiring that the ignition interlock device is installed that device must be installed. The driver must have the device updated and maintained every 30 days while the life requirement is in effect, and must provide proof as required by ASAP.

Electronic log

The driver is required to install an electronic log along with the ignition interlock device. The driver will be required to submit to ASAP 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 show attempts to circumvent or tamper with the equipment. 

When the interlock period requirement begins and ends

Pursuant to Virginia Code section 18.2 – 270.1, 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, is calculated from the date the offender is issued a restricted license by the court; however, this period of time is 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.

Steps to take to complete the ignition interlock requirement

  1. After court report to the local ASAP office immediately
  2. The ASAP office will have a list of acceptable ignition interlock vendors from which you may choose
  3. You must then call and make an appointment with the ignition interlock company
  4. Proof of installation must be given to your ASAP supervisor
  5. You must complete the monthly reporting requirements

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