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Virginia Senate passes bill requiring ignition interlock devices

The Virginia Senate recently passed a controversial bill that will require all first-time DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles. Up to now, Virginia law has required that the interlock device be installed only for repeat offenders and those drivers who are convicted of driving with a blood-alcohol level of .15 percent or higher. But after the passage of the new law, even first-time offenders who were said to have blown .08 percent -- the legal limit for a driver -- will have to pay for the interlock device and have it installed.

Opponents of the bill pointed out that not everyone can afford to have the device installed in their vehicles. The cost of installation is said to be several hundred dollars, and the device must stay in the vehicle for a minimum of six months. Virginians who have been convicted of DUI will have to blow into the ignition interlock device before starting their cars. If any alcohol is detected by the device, then the person's vehicle won't start.

Clearly, the state government means to crack down on drunk driving. While the consequences of a DUI conviction are becoming more severe, Virginia residents who are facing a DUI charge will need a strong criminal defense to help ensure that the rights of the accused are upheld in court. Breathalyzer tests and field sobriety tests are not as accurate or telling as prosecutors would like us to believe. That is why a meaningful DUI defense will call into question the claims of a police report, placing the full burden of proof on the prosecution and not the defendant.

Source: wric.com, "Ignition Interlock Bill Passes Va. Senate," Feb. 15, 2012

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