We may take for granted our ability to drive. People drive to work, to medical appointments, to drop their kids off at school and to run errands. Some may even go so far as to say that the ability to drive is essential to their everyday life. However, if a person in Virginia is convicted of driving under the influence, they could find their ability to drive is made significantly more difficult.

In Virginia, if a person is convicted of DUI, he or she must install an ignition interlock device on his or her vehicle and use it for a minimum of six months. This is true even for first time offenders. This is in addition to any other penalties that might be imposed, such as fines or jail time.

An ignition interlock device is similar to a Breathalyzer. The motorist blows into the device before driving, and the device measures the motorist’s blood alcohol content. If the motorist’s blood alcohol content is above 0.02 percent, the vehicle will not start. Note that 0.02 percent is well below the legal limit of 0.08 percent, so even having one drink with a meal could possibly prevent one’s vehicle from starting.

Those who use an ignition interlock device will also have to perform rolling retests. This is a random test of the motorist’s blood alcohol content while the motorist is behind the wheel. If a motorist fails a rolling retest (that is, their blood alcohol content is above 0.02 percent), the vehicle’s horn will sound, and lights will flash. A motorist who refuses to submit to a rolling retest will be deemed to have failed it.

The ability to drive is practically a necessity for many people in Louisa. Anything that could impede this ability could significantly impact a person’s life for the worse. Since an ignition interlock device can prevent someone from driving, even if their BAC is below the legal limit, those who have been charged with DUI will want to develop a solid defense strategy to avoid this unwanted consequence.