top of page
  • Joseph Amonett

Understanding DUI Laws in Virginia

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Virginia, with strict penalties designed to deter individuals from operating vehicles while impaired by alcohol or drugs. If you or someone you know is facing DUI charges in Virginia, it is crucial to understand the legal framework surrounding these charges and the potential consequences of a conviction.


In Virginia, DUI laws are primarily governed by Virginia Code § 18.2-266. This statute states that it is unlawful for any person to drive or operate a motor vehicle, engine, or train while such person:


(i) Has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more by weight by volume or 0.08 grams or more per 210 liters of breath as indicated by a chemical test administered as provided in Title 18.2, Chapter 7, Article 2 of the Virginia Code;


(ii) Is under the influence of alcohol;


(iii) Is under the influence of any narcotic drug or any other self-administered intoxicant or drug of whatsoever nature, or any combination of such drugs, to a degree which impairs his ability to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine or train safely;


(iv) Is under the combined influence of alcohol and any drug or drugs to a degree which impairs his ability to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine or train safely; or


(v) Has a blood concentration of any of the following substances at a level that is equal to or greater than: (a) 0.02 milligrams of cocaine per liter of blood, (b) 0.1 milligrams of methamphetamine per liter of blood, (c) 0.01 milligrams of phencyclidine per liter of blood, or (d) 0.1 milligrams of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine per liter of blood.


Penalties for DUI in Virginia


The penalties for DUI in Virginia vary depending on the specific circumstances of the offense and whether the defendant has any prior convictions. Here are some of the potential consequences of a DUI conviction:


First Offense


  • Class 1 Misdemeanor


  • Fines: Up to $2,500, with a mandatory minimum fine of $250.


  • Jail Time: Up to 12 months incarceration, with a mandatory minimum of 5 days if the BAC is between 0.15% and 0.20%, or a mandatory minimum of 10 days if the BAC is above 0.20%.


  • License Suspension: 12 months, with the possibility of a restricted license (requires an ignition interlock for a period of time)


  • Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP): Mandatory participation.

 

Second Offense (Within 5-10 Years)


  • Class 1 Misdemeanor


  • Fines: Up to $2,500, with a mandatory minimum fine of $500.


  • Jail Time: Up to 12 months incarceration (10-day mandatory minimum if the offense was within 10 years of a prior offense; 20-day mandatory minimum if the offense was within 5 years of a prior offense). There could be even more mandatory minimum jail time if the BAC is .15% or higher.


  • License Revocation: 3 years, with the possibility of a restricted license after 4 months or 1 year depending on whether the offense occurred within 5 years or 10 years (requires an ignition interlock for a period of time).


  • Ignition Interlock: Required for 6 months at the end of the three-year revocation period, unless a restricted license was obtained during the revocation period.


  • Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP): Mandatory participation.

 

Third Offense (Within 5-10 Years)


  • Class 6 Felony


  • Fines: Up to $2,500, with a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000.


  • Jail Time: Up toto 5 years incarceration (90-day mandatory minimum if the offense was within 10 years of two prior offenses; 6-month mandatory minimum if the offense was within 5 years of two prior offenses).


  • License Revocation: Indefinite.


  • Vehicle Forfeiture: Possible.

 

Fourth or Subsequent Offense (Within 10 years)


  • Class 6 Felony


  • Fines: Up to $2,500, with a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000.


  • Jail Time: Up to 5 years incarceration (1-year mandatory minimum).


  • License Revocation: Indefinite.


  • Vehicle Forfeiture: Possible.


Defenses Against a DUI Charge in Virginia


Defending against a DUI charge requires a strategic approach and a thorough understanding of the law. Some common defenses include:

 

  • Illegal Traffic Stop: Arguing that the police lacked reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle.


  • Illegal Arrest: Arguing that the police lacked probable cause to arrest you based on the circumstances.


  • Improper Field Sobriety Tests: Challenging the administration or interpretation of field sobriety tests.


  • Faulty Breathalyzer Test: Challenging the accuracy and calibration of the breathalyzer device.


  • Inaccurate BAC Results: Arguing issues with the blood or breath sample collection, storage, or analysis.


  • Lack of Impairment: Demonstrating that the defendant was not impaired despite a positive BAC result, perhaps due to rising BAC levels or other factors.


  • Medical Conditions: Pointing out medical conditions that could have affected the BAC reading or mimicked signs of intoxication.


Conclusion


DUI charges in Virginia carry severe penalties that can significantly impact an individual's life. Understanding the laws, penalties, and potential defenses is crucial if you find yourself facing a DUI allegation. If you are charged with DUI in Virginia, it is advisable to seek legal counsel from an experienced Virginia DUI attorney who can help protect your rights.


Commentaires


Les commentaires ont été désactivés.
bottom of page