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Speak Out: Should First-Time Drunken Drivers Have Ignition Locking Device?

Some say the new penalty for offenders is too much.

Beginning in July, Virginia will enforce a new drunken-driving penalty that requires first-time offenders to install ignition devices in their cars that will test the their blood alcohol level before the cars will start.

The Washington Post has reported that the new requirement — the toughest in the region — will affect more than 18,000 people and has sparked a debate between groups fighting against drunk driving and people representing offenders.

The new law will affect people arrested for drunken-driving offenses, regardless of the level of their blood alcohol concentration. That means it affects people who are only slightly above the legal limit.

Speak Out: Should first-time drunken-driving offenders be required to use ignition devices? Or is the penalty too severe? Let us know in the comments section below.

Ben Glass April 14, 2012 at 12:09 PM
actually, the more i think about this i looks like the new law doesn't actually change much. When you are convicted of DUI in Va you are going to have your license suspended, usually for 6 month for first time offense. so you aren't allowed to drive. Period. You can generally apply for a restricted license, meaning you can drive a little bit.. to and from work.. to and from child care..things like that... obviously, during this limited time you are allowed to drive, you aren't supposed to be drinking... The interlock just reinforces that..but in terms of your actual privilege to drive after a first time conviction, it doesn't change much. Interested in your feedback. I'm a lawyer but not a DUI lawyer... if there are any DUI attorneys who are on Patch, interested in your feedback
Sally Spangler April 14, 2012 at 03:21 PM
He deserves all sorts of praise! That he could go to therapy and go on sober from there!!!! Good for him!!! Such awful things as a divorce and all the emotions that go with that experience could certainly drive (no pun) to a DUI. He is a very strong person!
Kim Moore April 14, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Unless things have changed, judges are not the ones handing down punishment. They are overseen by the jurisdiction's substance abuse program. So, once a person pleads (or is found) guilty, the person pays the fines, then their oversight is turned over to the local program. Historically, those staff could require documented attendance at AA meetings, attendance at a series of the substance abuse program's classes, ignition locks, rehab recommendations and driving restrictions. I tend to wonder if this new law is intended to add more uniformity across jurisdictions. Again, I'm not sure if things have changed. My friend's experience was ten or so years ago.
Bill Smith May 31, 2012 at 12:27 AM
I can guarantee you we drive among many a closet drunk. Mommy's little helper. I know a Kingstowne mommy who drinks everyday. Drives her daughter here and there or pawns her off. She goes to book club, PTA, runs and leads a cute little girl scout troop. She's a regular at the bar and rarely misses a chance to drink for one reason or the other. She even cheats on her husband. All the mommies in the neighborhood should keep an eye on this one. You see she's no "one time offender" she just hasn't been caught. When she when she's caught put a Interlock on her Mazda.
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