Virginia DUI LAW
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Virginia DUI video transcription
All persons convicted a DUI in Virginia must enter the Virginia alcohol safety action program, a drunk driving program. The program costs $300, which is a small cost compared to the other financial punishments you will have if you are convicted a DUI. If you’ve been arrested in Virginia you should contact a skilled attorney right away to protect your rights.
Virginia DUI lawyers are well aware that drunk driving arrests in their state trigger two prosecutions: a criminal case, where punishment for drinking and driving can include jail time, fines, loss of driving privileges, mandatory alcohol education classes, and more; however, a DUI arrest also triggers an immediate 7-day driver's license suspension. A DUI conviction in Virginia can also affect the driver's license of someone who lives in another state, because of the interstate driver's license compact.
Drunk driving defense is a specialized area. Let one of the qualified DUI LAWS attorneys find a solution to your legal problem if you, or someone you care about, has been arrested for DUI or DWI. Contact a Virginia DUI LAWS lawyer near you for a free consultation by calling 1.800.DUI.LAWS.
Virginia drunk driving convictions can be obtained by proof of either driving while under the influence of alcohol (or drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs), or by proof that the driver violated Virginia's "per se" laws, meaning that they drove with a blood alcohol level of .08% or greater. Prosecutors will attempt to prove the traditional DUI charge by reference to driving patterns and field sobriety test performance. A prosecutor cannot prove violation of the per se laws without a breath or blood test.
Virginia DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The maximum punishment for a first offense is a $2,500 fine, one year in jail, and the loss of one's driving privileges for one year. Additionally, all persons convicted of DUI are, by law, required to lose their driving privileges for one year (or three years for subsequent offenses). The Judge no longer has discretion over this punishment. However, he may order restricted driving privileges that would allow one to drive to and from work. All persons convicted of DUI must enter the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP), a drunk driving program. This program costs $300. Of course, since every Judge is different, the punishments can vary dramatically.
There are some sentence enhancements that result in extra, mandatory jail sentences based on high blood alcohol levels - even for first offense cases. If one's blood alcohol level was between 0.15 and 0.20, there is a mandatory 5-day jail sentence. If the level was above 0.20, there is a mandatory 10-day jail sentence. In addition, if one had a blood alcohol level of 0.15 and above, he or she will be required to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle.
Virginia DUI convictions can also result in sentencing enhancement based upon prior convictions. There are some circumstances that result in mandatory jail sentences based on prior offenses. For a second conviction within 10 years of a prior offense, there is a mandatory 10-day jail sentence (and 3 months for a third offense). For a second conviction within 5 years of a prior offense, there is a mandatory 20-day jail sentence. A third offense within 10 years carries mandatory jail of six months. Fourth offenses within 10 years of a prior conviction are subject to a mandatory one-year in jail.
Virginia DUI law does provide for additional driver's license consequences where a person refuses to take a breath or blood test following a drunk driving arrest. Virginia has an implied consent law, meaning that all licensed drivers have already consented to a test of their breath or blood for alcohol content if suspected of drunk driving. Where a person does not submit to a test following arrest, they do deprive the prosecution of a key piece of evidence that can be used against them in court; however, they also run the risk of being subjected to an additional one-year driver's license suspension if convicted of DUI.
If one refuses to submit to a breath or blood test after having previously been convicted of DUI or Refusal within 10 years, he or she will lose his or her driver's license for 3 years if convicted. Refusing to comply with Virginia's implied consent law is also a separate criminal offense. The refusal will also be a criminal charge with the possibility of a six-month jail sentence (or one year jail sentence for a third offense).