If you are stopped for drunk driving, do you know your options? Do you understand the potential penalties you might be facing? Far too often, a driver won’t consider these questions or the repercussions of drunk driving until the driver is being questioned by a police officer. This is a particular problem for drivers in Virginia, which has among the toughest drunk driving laws in the country.
What are the laws governing drunk driving in Virginia?
In Virginia, an individual may be convicted of drunk driving for driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level above .08 or for driving while impaired, even if the driver’s BAC is below .08. With a BAC above .08, the driver is subject to an immediate administrative license suspension of seven days, or longer if the driver has a prior DUI conviction or breath test refusal.
What are the penalties for a drunk driving conviction in Virginia?
The penalties for a drunk driving conviction largely depend upon whether the driver has any prior convictions. According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, a DUI conviction for a first-time offender will result in a minimum of a $ 250 fine, as well as a one-year license revocation. For a second offense within ten years of the prior offense, an individual will face a minimum $ 500 fine, a license revocation period of three years and a minimum jail sentence of ten days.
Virginia laws are very strict; to avoid these penalties, you must avoid a DUI conviction.
Am I required to submit to a blood or breath test?
Under the Virginia law of implied consent, anyone who drives on Virginia roads is deemed to have implicitly consented to a blood or breath test to determine whether he or she is intoxicated. Refusing to submit to such a test is a civil offense in and of itself; if you are convicted of a breath test refusal and have no history of DUI, you will lose your driving privileges for a year. With a history of refusal or a history of drunk driving convictions, these penalties may increase.
It is important to note that when an individual is convicted of both DUI and a breath test refusal, the punishments will run consecutively. During the suspension for refusing a breath test, a driver is not eligible for restricted driving privileges.
For more information regarding drunk driving allegations in Virginia, speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your rights and options.
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