Virginia DWI Law Changes – Now that Blows!
Virginia recently enacted another tough DWI law and now joins one of only a few states with laws this tough. The “Newb” will require, as a condition for getting a restricted driver’s license, that a first offender use a device called an ignition interlock. Simply put, when a convicted DWI offender on probation gets in his car, he’ll have to blow into the device. If its sensors show any alcohol on his breath, the device won’t permit the car to start. Additionally, it will report the “offense” to the person’s ASAP coordinator (court probation). Its true that some people already had to use the device but now, with this new law (set to take effect July1) it will be everyone, if they want to get a license (albeit restricted in nature).
The problem with the system is that there is no statistical evidence that the ignition interlock prevents drunk driving. Additionally, most people do not repeat their offense, so lots of people will have to endure the expense and humiliation of using the device. Further, the device is expensive making its use prohibitive for the poor. Also, it takes (from my perspective) about 30 days for an install appointment. Last but not least, from experience as a defense attorney, I know the devices make mistakes that are hard to correct, if you are a DWI convict.
The cynical side of me says that the device manufacturer has received a windfall from its lobbying. Additionally, the organization against drunk driving (MADD) has received the payoff for its statewide donations to lawmakers. So, when you hear about someone getting a DWI with its tough penalties, remember that new law because It Blows.