The abundance of drunk driving violations and accidents throughout the United States has culminated in the implementation of stronger DUI enforcement laws nationwide. DUI falls under state, not federal, control, so every state has its own laws and penalties when it comes to catching and sentencing drunk drivers.
From its involvement in the Drive Sober, or Get Pulled Over campaign to its mandatory DUI checkpoints, Virginia has become one of the leading states in upping its DUI laws and enforcement. However, by leading the nation in the call to decrease rates of drunk driving, Virginia is perpetually creating new and more involved laws. Although this may be good for the state, drivers must keep up with new laws and make an effort to understand them.
Recent DUI Law Updates You Need to Know
Some of the newer drunk driving amendments include:
- Senate Bill 1463. This amendment allows for a mandatory installation of an ignition interlock, which is breathalyzer apparatus that disables ignition if driver has a high blood alcohol concentration, for repeat offenders. Previous laws suggested installation if a driver committed a second offense within 10 years of a previous offense or license suspension. However, this new law extends that time period indefinitely. Therefore, if a driver is convicted of a repeat DUI offense, then in addition to a three-year suspension of his license, he will also be required to install an ignition interlock as a condition for reinstating his license.
- Senate Bill 889 and House Bill 279. The previous law states that ignition interlocks are mandatory for DUI or DWI convictions where a person’s BAC level was 0.15 or higher, or a repeat offender. These newer laws allow for interlock technology to be made mandatory for any DUI or DWI conviction (regardless of the person’s BAC) for a minimum of six months. If a convicted DUI offender drives a vehicle without the device, he can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor and have his license revoked for a period of one year.
- House Bill 1693. This bill allows results of blood alcohol testing to be admitted into evidence in a repeat DUI prosecution. This includes chemical testing and whole blood testing as opposed to breathalyzer tests.
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