Articles Tagged with DUI consequences

Breathalyzer

Breathalyzer

In August of 2012, the District of Columbia City Council, with little public comment, amended DC’s DUI/DWI law. Among the many changes included doubling mandatory minimum jail sentences for repeat offenders and cases with high chemical scores. Another change included doubling the maximum penalty for first offenders from 90 days to 180 days. The law also added additional situations in which mandatory minimum jail applied and lowered the blood alcohol score from .08 to.04 for individuals who possess a commercial driver’s license. Buried in the law included provisions that made DC’s hit and run law much broader. Many of the changes brought DC’s DUI law closer to the trend among most states who have created harsher penalties.

However, many of the changes were either arbitrary or say more about local institutional politics than public policy. One major arbitrary and ridiculous change to the law is a provision that bars individuals facing mandatory minimum jail time from serving that time on the weekends. Under the old law, judges routinely when forced to sentence individuals to mandatory jail time allowed them to serve that time on the weekends.

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Virginia already has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country, but they continue to find new ways to burden those convicted of DUI. The most recent addition to Virginia DUI punishment is the “ignition interlock” system. When installed in a car, an ignition interlock prevents that car from starting until the driver blows into a mouthpiece. The device measures the amount of alcohol in the driver’s blood, and will not allow the car to start if it detects a blood alcohol concentration above .02.

Virginia DUI first offenders must have an ignition interlock system installed on all vehicles they intend to operate if they wish to receive a restricted license. For most DUI offenders, a restricted license is a must, so that they can continue driving themselves to their jobs, and transporting their children to and from school or child care. The system must be kept on the car for at least six months.

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