New law allows DUI offenders to participate in Interlock program - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

New law allows DUI offenders to participate in Interlock program more quickly

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A bill that took effect June 6 allows DUI offenders in the state to participate in the Interlock program quicker.

Senate Bill 434 allows for a DUI offender to be eligible for the Alcohol Test and Lock Program. They can apply for the program prior to the effective date of the revocation of their license and use the Test and Lock Device for the required length of the program, so long as they waive their right to an administrative hearing.

James Edens, state director for LifeSafer West Virginia, said the law will allow first-time and multiple offenders to keep their license, continuing to get to work and contribute to society.

There are also treatment classes and fees involved in the program. If a person tries to beat the system, they will be monitored more stringently, Edens said.

However, he said the success rate of the program is relatively high, at about 90 percent.

Repeat offenders will be forced to use other devices that could take a picture each time they blow into the Interlock device as well as asking for a breath test in random intervals while a vehicle is moving down the road, Edens said.

DUI offenses and penalties for alcohol and other drugs can all be reasons why a person would have to participate in the Interlock program.

According to the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, West Virginia state code establishes the guidelines for assessment for DUI Safety and Treatment program participants. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities Program sets forth "specific clinical standards for the state's safety and treatment program.

Also in the state, if someone has more than one DUI offense are considered a habitual offender they will be asked to participate in additional treatment programs. The successful completion of these programs, according to the DMV, "is a step to secure reinstatement of driving privileges administratively suspended as a result of second offense DUI per Chapter 17C-5A-3 of state code.

According to Edens, the LifeSafer program is the only one that welds the device to the car. They also will install the device for private companies and individuals. For information on the devices call 304-343-1625.