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Can a first-time DWI lead to an IID requirement in Virginia?

On Behalf of | Nov 27, 2023 | Drunk Driving

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) convictions can lead to a variety of different penalties. Judges may sentence people to incarceration or probation. Large fines are often a mandatory penalty. Many people lose their driver’s license over a DUI offense.

There are other penalties that the Virginia criminal courts can impose in some circumstances. Typically, drivers convicted of a DWI have to install ignition interlock devices (IIDs) in their vehicles when they are permitted to drive again. An IID is a breath test device that can prevent someone from starting a vehicle if they have a certain amount of alcohol in their bloodstream. IID requirements are common when someone has multiple DWI offenses on their record or if they get arrested with unusually high levels of alcohol in their bloodstream.

IIDs can get people back on the road

Virginia is one of the strictest states when it comes to monitoring a driver’s conduct after a DWI conviction. The state essentially requires that all drivers seeking to regain driving privileges after a DWI conviction install IIDs in any vehicle they will drive.

Instead of being a penalty, an IID can be a way to limit the impact of a DWI conviction. Someone who installs an IID in their vehicle can regain driving privileges earlier than someone who does not. They will need to perform a test to start their vehicle and will also need to perform tests randomly for as long as they remain in control of the vehicle.  They will then have a record of sober driving to help affirm that they are ready to regain driving privileges.

Although the legal limit for someone’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in most scenarios is 0.08%, the standards for an IID are much stricter. Someone will not be able to start their vehicle if their test shows a BAC of 0.02% or higher. The record of their failed test can also increase how long they must maintain the IID in their vehicle.

There is an installation fee and monthly costs associated with IIDs, in addition to the embarrassment people may feel if others see them performing a test. Understanding what penalties the courts may impose can help people better handle their approach to Virginia DWI charges.


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