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What is Ignition Interlock?

Unlocking the Mystery: Fairfax DUI Lawyer Explains What Ignition Interlock Is and When the Court Requires It


Navigating the complex world of DUI laws can feel like traversing a labyrinth, especially when it comes to understanding the stipulations around Ignition Interlock Devices (IID). As a seasoned Fairfax DUI Lawyer, I'm here to shed light on this intricate aspect of DUI legislation and help you understand when a court may necessitate the implementation of an Ignition Interlock.

Fairfax DUI Lawyer explains what Ignition Interlock is

Often likened to a breathalyzer for your car, the Ignition Interlock Device is a tool used to prevent individuals with a history of DUI from driving under the influence again. But how exactly does it function? Let's dive in.

The Science behind Ignition Interlock Devices

The Ignition Interlock is essentially a small gadget installed in the ignition system of your vehicle. This device requires the driver to provide a breath sample before the car can be started. If the device detects a certain level of alcohol in the driver's system—typically a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) above the preset limit—the vehicle will not start. Often, these devices will also require retests while driving.

The Installation of Ignition Interlock Devices

The Ignition Interlock Device is directly linked to your car's ignition system. This is a sophisticated piece of technology that needs professional installation to ensure its proper functioning. In Virginia, the law stipulates that the device must be installed by a court-approved vendor to guarantee it meets the necessary safety and efficiency standards.

When the Court Requires an Ignition Interlock

Understanding when a court may mandate an Ignition Interlock can be just as crucial as comprehending what it is. After all, knowledge is power. This article serves as a guide, but if you have questions about an ignition interlock, call Mr. R. Tyler Bezilla today for a free consultation.

First Time DUI Offenders and Ignition Interlock Devices

Contrary to what some may believe, even first-time DUI offenders may be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device in Virginia. Typically, if your BAC was 0.15% or higher at the time of your arrest, you will be required to have an IID installed in your vehicle as part of your sentence. Even a first time DUI with a non-elevated BAC can require an Ignition Interlock if ordered by the court or required by the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (the state run treatment program).

Repeat DUI Offenders and Ignition Interlock Devices

If you've been convicted of multiple DUIs, the court will almost certainly order the installation of an IID in your vehicle. This requirement aims to prevent further incidents and protect the community from potential harm.

Understanding the Implications of Ignition Interlock Devices

It's important to fully grasp the potential consequences and implications of having an Ignition Interlock Device installed in your vehicle.

The Financial Aspect of Ignition Interlock Devices

Having an Ignition Interlock Device installed in your vehicle is not without financial implications. Installation costs, monthly monitoring fees, and potential repair or removal expenses can quickly add up. It's crucial to factor this into your considerations when dealing with DUI charges.

Lifestyle Changes with Ignition Interlock Devices

Having an IID installed in your vehicle can significantly impact your daily life. This is not just about the inconvenience of blowing into the device every time you start your vehicle. The device also requires random retests while you're on the road. You also wont be allowed to drive vehicles that do not have an IID installed.


  1. Is the Ignition Interlock requirement mandatory for all DUI offenses in Virginia?

No, the requirement is not mandatory for all DUI offenses. However, it is a typical condition for offenders with high BAC levels and repeat offenders.

  1. Who is responsible for the cost of the Ignition Interlock Device?

The offender is typically responsible for all costs associated with the device, including installation, maintenance, and removal.

  1. How long will I be required to have the Ignition Interlock Device installed?

The length of time will depend on the specifics of your case, including your BAC level at the time of arrest and any previous DUI convictions. Generally, Interlock devices are required for 6 months to a year.

  1. Can I remove the Ignition Interlock Device myself once my sentence is over?

No, the device must be removed by a professional installer approved by the court.

  1. Can I install the Ignition Interlock Device in any vehicle?

You can install it in any vehicle you plan to drive. However, it is important to remember that if you are caught driving a vehicle without an IID when it is required, you could face additional penalties.

  1. What happens if I fail or skip a breath test on the Ignition Interlock Device?

Failure or refusal to take a breath test when requested by the IID will typically result in the device recording a violation. This can lead to consequences such as an extension of the IID requirement or additional legal penalties. This can also lead to you receiving jail time on your underlying DUI offense.

  1. What happens if someone else does the test for me?

Most interlock devices also have a camera which takes photographs of the person doing the breath test. Attempts to defeat the test can, and often do, lead to violations of probation or additional charges.

  1. Will everyone who drives my car need to use the Interlock?

Yes, if an interlock is installed, everyone who drives the vehicle has to use it.


Understanding the intricacies of Ignition Interlock Devices and their implications can be a daunting task. However, having this knowledge at your disposal could significantly impact your case's outcome. Trust R. Tyler Bezilla to navigate this tricky terrain and help you achieve the best possible outcome. Call today for a free consultation.

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