Virginia will mandate the ignition interlock for all DWI convictions – Another reason to fight DWI cases tooth and nail
Image from National Institute of Standards & Technology.
In The Forty Year Old Virgin, one of the hero’s drunk prospects asks him to blow into a tube into her car, and away they recklessly go. He did not at the time realize that he was blowing into the ignition interlock machine to enable the car to drive after she had been convicted for drunk driving.
If only that were mere fiction. Yesterday, Virginia’s House of Delegates passed a Senate-passed bill mandating the ignition interlock for all people convicted of drunk driving, whereas before, those with first-time DWI convictions for a blood alcohol level under 0.15 did not face such a statutorily mandated requirement. All that is left is for the governor to sign the bill, which will soon be a fait accompli, and to see when the legislation will go into effect.
The vast majority of my first-time DWI clients with BAC test results under 0.15 ordinarily plead innocent to DWI, and many take a risk at trial even when prosecutors offer to strike BAC’s allegations of 0.15 or higher in exchange for a guilty plea. The incentives to plead guilty to strike the BAC was to avoid the interlock requirement and to avoid jail. Now with the interlock mandatory for all DWI convictions, I foresee more trials, as well, for those originally charged with BAC’s of 0.15 and over.
DWI trials sometimes can be won, as I have detailed recently here: Winning A DWI Trial After Keeping Out The Breath Test Result, Winning A DWI Trial By Suppressing The Arrest , and Winning A DWI On A 0.09 BAC Result. With mandatory ignition interlocks for all Virginia DWI convictions, the stakes are all the higher for Virginia DWI defendants to fight such charges tooth and nail.