As of July 1, 2012, everyone convicted of DUI in Virginia will need to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle in order to receive a restricted license. This expensive machine allows you to drive only after blowing into it.
Currently, first time offenders are required to install an ignition interlock device if their BAC is .15 or higher. However, starting July 1, 2012, everyone convicted of any DUI will be required to get the interlock device in order to drive on a restricted license. See HB 279.
You should consult with an attorney about whether you need a restricted license and whether it is worth the burden and cost for you. The court has discretion to give a restricted license to allow a person to drive to and from work, school, medical appointments, and church. A person is never guaranteed a restricted license, but an attorney can petition the court for a restricted license and make the argument for why it should be granted.
Edited on April 20, 2020. There is an exception to the ignition interlock requirement where a judge may allow a defendant employee to use their employer’s vehicle for use in the course of his employment, without the ignition interlock device, if it is an undue burden for the employer to install said device. However, the judge must sign off on this request and the request must come from the employer. In this situation, the Virginia DMV will still make a driver install the ignition interlock device on his or her own personal vehicle, so this work-vehicle exception should only be sought after if a driver has a personal vehicle that he can have the ignition interlock device installed on otherwise he or she will be in non-compliance. See paragraph “F” of Virginia Code § 18.2-270.1
“F. Any person prohibited from operating a motor vehicle under subsection B may, solely in the course of his employment, operate a motor vehicle that is owned or provided by his employer without installation of an ignition interlock system, if the court expressly permits such operation as a condition of a restricted license at the request of the employer; such person shall not be permitted to operate any other vehicle without a functioning ignition interlock system and, in no event, shall such person be permitted to operate a school bus, school vehicle, or a commercial motor vehicle as defined in § 46.2-341.4. This subsection shall not apply if such employer is an entity wholly or partially owned or controlled by the person otherwise prohibited from operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock system.”
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