Drivers pulled over by police officers that suspect them of intoxication will often need to perform field sobriety tests and chemical breath tests. If someone performs poorly on those tests, a police officer will arrest them, and they may find themselves facing drunk driving charges.
Some people, even those who fully believe in their own innocence, will consider pleading guilty to avoid the embarrassment of a trial and the consequences of a conviction. Before you decide that pleading guilty is the easiest solution, you need to understand the penalties that will likely apply. Those penalties include the requirement to install an ignition interlock device (IID) if you want to drive.
Even first-time offenses can lead to an IID
Virginia has some of the strictest impaired driving laws in the country, and drivers can expect licensing penalties if they plead guilty. The state does allow someone with a suspended license because of a drunk driving offense to ask for a restricted license, provided that they install an IID in their vehicle.
While an IID does seem like a penalty, it provides someone an opportunity to regain their driving privileges more quickly. It also helps people better learn to engage their own alcohol impairment, as the unit will not allow you to start the vehicle if your blood alcohol concentration exceeds 0.02%, a quarter of the legal limit.
The more prior offenses someone has on their record or aggravating factors at the time of their arrest, the longer they may be subject to IID restrictions. Reducing the severity of the consequences you face, and possibly protecting your license, often requires fighting back against pending drunk driving charges or proactively asserting your rights in court.