The state of Virginia takes incidents of drinking and driving very seriously. Anyone who is found having a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher is considered to be Driving Under the Influence (DUI), regardless if it happens in Richmond, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, Norfolk, or anywhere else in the state. Those who have been arrested and charged with DUI need to begin building their defense case as soon as possible by getting a Free DUI Arrest Evaluation.
Penalties for First Time DUI Offenders in the State of Virginia
Virginia will assign penalties to those who are convicted of DUI, even if this is their first drunk driving offense. This state has outlined a number of minimum penalties an individual will face, which means that harsher penalties could be assigned depending on the circumstances surround the case and the incident. Some of the penalties a first time offender in the state of Virginia will face include:
- Minimum Jail Time of 5 Days
- Minimum Fines and Penalties of $250
- License Suspension of 1 Year
- Having to Use an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for BAC of 0.15 Percent or Higher
Why DUI Rights are Important in Virginia
Individuals who are charged with DUI should seek the legal advice of a knowledgeable DUI attorney who is well practiced in the drunk driving cases in Virginia. This is important since the state of Virginia allows for plea bargaining for DUI charges and a lawyer is an invaluable resource in arranging this kind of deal. In order to do so, the attorney will need to prove there are holes in the prosecutor’s case against the client, and this is most easily done by proving the client’s rights were violated in some way.
One way to identify a rights violation is by asking the client a series of questions to learn more about what happened during the time of the arrest. Some the questions a lawyer may ask will include:
- What was the officer reason for conducting the traffic stop?
- Did the officer read the client’s Miranda Rights?
- Was the car being driven at the time of the traffic stop?
- Did the officer witness the client driving the car?
- Did the officer administer a Breathalyzer test within a reasonable amount of time?
- Were the officer’s observations consistent with other individuals who witnessed the client?
- Was proper field sobriety testing administered?
- Did weather conditions affect your testing results?
Protect your rights and learn how to get your Virginia DUI charges dismissed. Get Started Now by filling out the Free DUI Arrest Evaluation Form to get the answers you need.
Virginia DUI Defense Tactics
No matter how guilty you may think you were at the time of the arrest, we want you to know one important thing: There is ALWAYS an aggressive and effective Virginia DUI defense that will help you fight for the best possible outcome. In our experience, many officers do not follow proper field sobriety test procedures. In fact, challenging probable cause and the way field sobriety tests, blood tests and breath tests were administered is often a successful strategy to reduce or drop the charges. Also, many people plead guilty prematurely based on a breath test with a result above the legal limit. This is a common and costly mistake, as there are a variety of ways in having the breath test suppressed as we will show you how to do.
If you rely solely on a public defender to help you, your chances will be limited in preserving financial security and effectively winning your case. We will help you protect yourself against an unfair court system and not risk losing your license or financial security. With our help, we will show you the easy to understand steps needed to get your Virginia DUI charges dismissed effectively and take back the control of your situation by being equipped with the real information and attorney you need to win your case. Start by filling out the Free DUI Arrest Evaluation Form to have your Virginia DUI Arrest looked at by a DUI advocate.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) considers Virginia to be one of the best states in the union in terms of DUI legislation. The state has earned the coveted 5-star rating, one of the few states to boast this honor. With mandatory jail sentences and ignition interlock device (IID) installation on the first offense, the state has some of the toughest DUI laws in the United States.
What is Considered DUI in Virginia?
Intoxication levels in the United States are measured by the blood alcohol content, or BAC. Anyone arrested for DUI in Virginia is required to take a chemical test that reveals the BAC at the time of testing. Since Virginia is an implied consent state, refusing to take the test will result in an automatic license suspension of at least one year (more for progressive violations). BAC levels for a DUI in Virginia are:
- Commercial drivers, .04 percent
- Drivers age 21 and older, .08 percent
- Drivers under 21, .02 percent
DUI Laws in Virginia
DUI laws in Virginia are going to vary slightly from other states and it is important to keep in mind that DUI laws in generally are always changing and evolving.
Consequences for Refusing to Take Chemical Tests
Some states will offer minimal penalties as a result of refusing to take a chemical test after a DUI arrest. Virginia, on the other hand, has much tougher consequences for those who refuse the test:
- First offense – 1-Year License Suspension
- Second offense – 3-Year License Suspension (If the prior refusal happened within 10 years)
- Third offense – 3-Year License Suspension (If the prior refusal happened within 10 years)
Challenging BAC Levels in Court
Unlike some other states, Virginia does not have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to minors drinking and driving and uses standard BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) testing for all violations:
- Drivers that are under the age of 21, .0.2 percent
- Drivers 21 years of age and older, .08 percent
- Commercial Drivers, .04 percent
Is There Mandatory Jail Time Required for a DUI in Virginia?
Like some other states, Virginia does require first time offenders to spend a minimum amount of time in jail. Additionally, second and third time offenders also have minimum jail time requirements:
- First offense – minimum of 5 days in jail
- Second offense – minimum of 20 days in jail, maximum of 1 year
- Third offense – minimum of 6 months in jail
Monetary Fines and Penalties for DUI in Virginia
Those who are charged with DUI in Virginia also face monetary fines as part of their sentence. Compared to some other states, the fines issues in Virginia are relatively low but there are required fine minimums that courts and judges must adhere to. Additionally, judges may impart heftier fines depending on the circumstances surrounding the arrest, such as high BAC levels or minors being present:
- First offense – minimum fine of $250
- Second offense – minimum fine of $500
- Third offense – minimum fine of $1,000
License Suspension for DUI in Virginia
Even though other penalties associated with DUI in Virginia have a minimum requirement and possibly no maximum, the requirements surrounding license suspension are very clear. Additionally, the suspension periods in Virginia are much harsher than in some other states:
- First offense – 1-Year License Suspension
- Second offense – 3-Year License Suspension
- Third offense – Indefinite Loss of License
Virginia only requires first time offenders to use an Ignition Interlock Device if their BAC is over 0.15 percent. Second and third time offenders are required to use an IID regardless of BAC.
Finding a DUI Lawyer in Virginia
In the state of Virginia, the penalties for being charged with DUI can be very severe, even at the minimum requirements. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, it is possible for the court to assign longer jail time and higher fines. Because of this, it is important to seek legal counsel to help represent you in court – a skilled DUI attorney will be able to review your case for any flaws and let you know what the likely outcome will be and whether or not you should consider pleading guilty.