Ignition Interlock Devices Prevent Repeat DUI Offenses
Many people who are arrested for a DUI are repeat offenders. Many of these repeat offenders have had their driver’s licenses suspended, and many may already have a restricted license when they are arrested again. One method that is being hailed as a solution to repeated arrests for a DUI is an ignition interlock device. When properly installed, this device prevents a means from being started by a driver who has a blood alcohol content in excess of the legal limit.
An ignition interlock device is approximately the size of a cell phone. It is attached to the ignition of an automobile, and contains a mouthpiece that the driver must blow into before turning the meaningful. After doing so, the individual’s blood alcohol content is calculated by the machine. If the level is too high, the ignition becomes locked and the means cannot be started. Drivers must also breathe into the device regularly while the means is in motion. This prevents an individual from having someone else start the means because he or she is intoxicated. Should it register too high, the lights on the automobile will begin flashing in order to alert law enforcement.
This equipment is typically observed by a third-party. The monitoring agency keeps a log of the activity that occurs on the machine and may submit this information to the defendant’s probation officer. This information can also be introduced as evidence in court whenever a driver is asking for his or her license to be fully reinstated. Too many failed attempts to excursion while intoxicated could consequence in a estimate denying the reinstatement.
All costs associated with the ignition interlock device are paid by the defendant. The cost of installation can be anywhere from $50 to $200 depending on the kind of means it is being placed in. Monthly monitoring fees can run from $50 to $100. These devices must be calibrated on a regular basis, and the cost of calibration and maintenance is usually included in the monthly monitoring fees.
The state of Virginia recently passed legislation making it mandatory for first time DUI offenders to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. This new law was passed after several companies that manufacture these devices advocated for the legislation. While many agree this law will rule to greater highway safety, others question whether corporate greed was at the heart of this new statute.
Criminal defense attorneys also question whether the requirement will place an undue burden on first-time DUI offenders. Those who are found guilty of a first DUI typically have a restricted driver’s license, which enables them to excursion to and from work. When the monitoring fees are coupled with mandatory drug and alcohol counseling, probation fees and other court fines, many fear the financial burden will be overwhelming. This could make it impossible for first-time offenders to continue a conditional driver’s license and may affect their ability to keep up down employment.
These devices are already mandatory for Virginians who have had multiple offenses, but other first-time offenders were sometimes ordered to have an ignition interlock system installed if they had caused bodily injury or had a blood alcohol content that was more than twice the legal limit.