Legislative Update 3/24/2020

Virginia General Assembly 2020

The following are bills related to impaired driving that will become law as soon as the Governor signs off on them. The date they officially become law varies between July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021.

SB 439

Provides that in the case of an adult offender’s first conviction of driving under the influence when the offender’s blood alcohol content was less than 0.15, upon motion of the offender, the sole restriction of the offender’s restricted driver’s license shall be the prohibition of the offender from operating any motor vehicle not equipped with a functioning, certified ignition interlock system for one year without any violation of the ignition interlock system requirements. The bill provides that if a person is ineligible to receive a restricted license, a court may instead authorize such person to use a remote alcohol monitoring device, refrain from alcohol consumption, and participate in an alcohol safety action program; such provisions of the bill shall become effective on July 1, 2021. The bill provides that tampering with a remote alcohol monitoring device is a Class 1 misdemeanor. This bill incorporates SB 154 and SB 520.

SB 798

Limits unlawful driving on a highway, specifically, by those persons whose license was revoked makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to drive on a suspended license which will be eligible for administrative revocation of license, and a Class 6 felony for 3rd offense Drive on Suspended license to highways. This bill will allow persons with a revoked license to drive on private property that is not designated in Title 46.2 Motor Vehicles as a Highway.

HB 34

Allows a person convicted of a first offense of unreasonable refusal to have samples of his breath or blood taken for chemical tests to determine the alcohol content of his blood to petition the court 30 days after conviction for a restricted driver’s license. The court may, for good cause shown, grant such restricted license for the same purposes as allowed for restricted licenses granted after conviction of driving under the influence if the person installs an ignition interlock system on each motor vehicle owned by or registered to the person and enters into and successfully completes an alcohol safety action program. The bill provides that such restricted license shall not permit any person to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

HB 663

Provides that the venue for the prosecution of a circumvention of the operation of an ignition interlock system shall be where the offense occurred or the jurisdiction in which the order prohibiting a person from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with a functioning ignition interlock system was entered.