RD278 - Review of Applicability of Transdermal Continuous Alcohol Monitoring Devices for First-Time DUI Convictions

Executive Summary:
Item 393 #5 of the FY 2013 Budget Bill directed that “The Department of Criminal Justice Services shall review the potential applicability in Virginia of alcohol monitoring devices for persons convicted of a first offense of driving while intoxicated. This amendment provides for a follow-up study related to Senate Bill 1103 of the 2013 Session, which was not approved.”

Virginia Senate Bill 1103, introduced during the 2013 legislative session, sought to amend and reenact Code of Virginia § 18.2-271.1 and § 18.2-272 to allow “persons convicted of a first offense DUI to wear a transdermal alcohol monitoring device (generally a bracelet around the ankle) that continuously monitors the person’s blood alcohol level. A person who wears the device must refrain from any alcohol consumption and can get a restricted driver’s license for the required suspension period that does not limit his destinations.”

Figure 1. Code of Virginia amendment proposed by SB 1103

"F. For any person convicted of a first offense of clause (i), (ii), (iii), or (iv) of § 18.2-266, or of any ordinance of a county, city, or town similar to the provisions thereof, or of subsection A of § 46.2-341.24, where the offense occurred on or after July 1, 2013, in lieu of issuing a restricted license for the purposes set out in subsection E, the court may issue an order for a restricted license that is not limited to the purposes enumerated in subsection E under the following conditions, which shall be set out in the order and shall be conditions of probation: (i) the person receives a sentence of 12 months and is placed on probation for any portion of the sentence that he is not incarcerated, (ii) the person refrains from alcohol consumption for the duration of the sentence and probationary period, (iii) the person wears a secure transdermal alcohol monitoring device during the probationary period that provides continuous remote transdermal alcohol testing of the breath, blood, or transdermal alcohol concentration levels, and (iv) the person pays all costs of installing, maintaining, and administering the device, unless such cost is waived. Upon a finding that the defendant is indigent, the court may reduce or waive the costs of the device. The monitoring agency shall report any violations to the court."