Major Changes to Interlock Requirements in Virginia

| Oct 27, 2020 | DUI |

On July 1, 2020 some major changes in the laws regarding DUI and DWI convictions went into effect. Probably the most impactful change was made to Virginia Code Section 18.2-270.1.  This is the provision of the law that deals with the suspension of a defendant’s drivers license after conviction. Previously, the Court could grant a restrict license on a DUI 1st Offense provided the defendant installed an ignition interlock on his/her vehicle for 6 to 12 months (judge’s discretion). In addition to the interlock device the defendant was restricted to only being able to operate his/her vehicle for a list of very limited purposes (to and from work, to and from medical, to and from ASAP, to and from childcare, etc.). These limited restrictions prevented people from being able to drive to the grocery store, to volunteer, to get gas, and to visit a friend or loved one.

Recognizing the unanticipated consequences of the restrictions, the General Assembly amended the law which now reads;

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.

So as of July 1, 2020 if you are convicted of a DUI or DWI  you may be eligible to simply have the only restriction on your license being 12 months of ignition interlock on your vehicle.  You will only be eligible if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are convicted of 1st Offense DWI or DUI;
  • You are over 18 at the time of the offense; and
  • Your BAC was under .15

As a result of this law change if you are facing a conviction for a DUI or DWI it is imperative that you have an experienced DUI/DWI Defense Attorney.