March 11 Deadline for comments on Potential Ignition Interlock Program Changes in VA


Dear NMA Virginia Members,

Most DUI offenders want to make amends and keep up with their program requirements. They are required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles for a time period mandated by the court and to attend an alcohol education class.

Over the years, however, the NMA has received complaints from many charged with DUI about these mandated ignition interlock devices (IIDs). A Virginia couple is now trying to change the laws and regulations governing the use and penalties associated with IIDs so that those in the DUI program who are on the right path but get saddled with reported false positive readings from their devices can finish the program without violating its requirements.

If you or anyone you know is now or in the past has used an ignition interlock device, the NMA encourages you to take a few minutes to make comments to petitions spearheaded by Dave and Cynthia Hites to the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program Commission (VASAP). The comment period ends March 11.

Here is the link to the petition for the rule making changes.  This is also the same place to comment:

http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/comments.cfm?petitionid=266

The main points to consider for the rule changes:

  • Support the change to move the ignition interlock fail point from .02% BAC to .04% BAC. Many DUI offenders have difficulty starting their cars because he or she is at the mercy of flawed fuel cell technology, which can generate false positives (even though the user has not been drinking) which can cause a DUI convicted person to go back to court and face possible jail time. Case managers often misinterpret ignition interlock data. Moving the fail point will dramatically decrease false positive results that case managers use to keep offenders in the program and cost offenders who have not violated their program additional money.

 

  • Recently, the commission on VASAP established revised guidelines for case managers. These revisions do not go far enough to protect offenders from case managers subjectively prosecuting them. The changes requested in the Hites petitions will empower offenders with information they need to fight false charges and will hold case managers to an objective standard.

Please make a public comment before March 11 if you support offender rights to be treated fairly and equally and arm them with information to fight false charges. Please feel free to share your own experiences or those of family members.

If you have any questions about the Hites’ petitions or need more details, please feel free to email Mr. Hites at daveroonie@aol.com

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