ASAP abuse of power
The commission on VASAP is supposed to oversee the ignition interlock program for the State of Virginia and ensure its integrity. To date, Cynthia Hites and myself have presented the commission with evidence of an ASAP’s tampering with evidence and subsequently extorting money from a client via unwarranted and unjust additional interlock fees from which VASAP and the client’s ASAP benefit monetarily. Evidence of non-ethanol readings from two ignition interlock devices was also presented, along with several petitions to the commission to close loopholes in the law. All of them have been denied.
In 2019, Court Community Corrections ASAP went so far as to change a client’s compliance date BEFORE a show cause hearing for an alleged violation, effectively extending the client’s ignition interlock time requirement 4½ months past their original end date AFTER a judge dismissed the case. The ASAP enforced the time extension they imposed, even though a judge dismissed the case.
What is the point of wasting the court's time with a hearing when an ASAP, and in turn VASAP, choose to ignore the judge's ruling? The offender is left with no recourse to defend themselves any further.
The law is clear. VA Code 18.2-271.1 section F specifically states “The court shall have jurisdiction over any person entering such program under any provision of this section until such time as the case has been disposed of by either successful completion of the program, or revocation due to ineligibility or violation of a condition or conditions imposed by the court, whichever shall first occur.”
The VASAP Ignition Interlock Process & Procedure Manual further states "If an interlock event, tied to a court-ordered interlock requirement, is determined to be a violation and has been confirmed via a secondary review by the Commission, THE APAP SHALL HANDLE THE CASE PER THE DESIRE OF THE COURT OF JURISDICTION. If the referral is a DMV administrative case, the requirement shall be extended six months from the date of the violation."
The ASAP has no standing to alter an ignition interlock time requirement, yet systematically ASAPs have done so with impunity and no repercussions. The client’s last defense against a corrupt ASAP is the Commission. The commission has failed in its duty to simply follow the law as written, which is why this petition must be granted a public hearing for consideration of a change to the law.
Currently ASAPs operate above the law because the Commission allows it. ASAPs need any additional money they can get their hands on. In fiscal year 2018, only 7 of 24 ASAPs had revenues exceeding expenses. Only roughly half of DUI offenders in Virginia who are court ordered to install the interlock are actually doing so. The program is in a financial crisis. ASAPs need to find another method of increasing their revenue other than fleecing unsuspecting clients with extension letters before a judge has heard the case.
This practice is unethical, immoral and downright illegal. Hopefully the Commission agrees with me.