Virginia DWI / DUI Guide

Being charged with driving under the influence in Virginia can be a serious crime. It can result in jail time, significant fines, and the loss of driving privileges. This can impact a person’s ability to get to work, pick up their children, or otherwise live their lives. With an experienced DWI/DUI attorney, these charges can be reduced or the penalties minimized in order to allow a person to get their punishment out of the way and get back to safe driving. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Patrick N. Anderson & Associates have the experience to handle these charges quickly and efficiently.  For those charged with DUI:

  • First Time Offenses:  If you have been charged with driving under the influence and have a blood-alcohol content of .08-.15 and did not cause an accident, you will likely face a fine of between $250-$600, have your license suspended for a year, and will be on probation through the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, and require an ignition interlock device. Often, a person can get a restricted driver’s license which will allow them to drive to work, school, doctor’s appointments, and child care responsibilities. If your BAC is over .15, you will face a mandatory 5 days in jail and over .20 requires 10 days in jail.
  • Second Time Offenses: If your second Virginia DUI offense occurs within 5 years of your previous offense, you will face fines and a mandatory 30 days in jail. For all others, there is a mandatory 20 days in prison with a maximum of one year. If your BAC is over .15 in your second offense, you will face an additional 10 days in jail, with a BAC over .20 an additional 20 days in jail. You may also have your license suspended for up to 3 years and be ineligible for a restricted license.
  • Third Time Offenses: If this is your third offense within a five year period, you will face a class 6 felony. This can mean 1 to 5 years in prison.  If this is your third offense in 10 years, you will face a mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail. This third offense will also carry significant fines and an indefinite license suspension.
  • Minor in Possession: If you are under 21, there is a zero tolerance policy for drinking and driving. This means anything over .02 will result in a DUI charge.  This can result in a $500 fine as well as 50 hours of community service. If you are under 21 and have a BAC of .08 or higher, you will face the same penalties as those over 21 along with additional charges of being a minor in possession of alcohol.
  • Field Sobriety Tests:  If a police officer suspects you are driving under the influence, he will give you a field sobriety test. These standardized tests are designed to test motor skills and coordination and can be used as probable cause to administer a breathalyzer. Because Virginia is an implied consent state, you are required to submit to these tests if prompted by an officer.  Because these tests can be improperly administered, a Virginia DUI attorney will review these tests to ensure all procedures were properly followed.
  • Blood-alcohol Test: A Virginia driver must consent to this tests if prompted by the officer.  A refusal to take such a test will result in the same penalties as a failed test and can result in separate DWI charges. Subsequent refusals will be treated with the same penalties as failed tests.  Because these machines can be subject to errors, it is important to hire an aggressive Virginia DUI attorneys who will search for errors that can get charges dismissed.
  • Boating DUI Laws:  Operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol carries with it the same penalties as driving a motor vehicle while impaired. These serious charges can result in jail time, a loss of a job, and steep fines.  If you have been charged with a DUI while operating a boat, contact a Virginia DUI attorney right away.
  • Virginia DUI Defenses: Some people charged with DUI in Virginia will simply go in an plead guilty, thinking the evidence against them in rock solid. This is not necessarily the case.  Charges have been thrown out by calling into the question of the breathalyzer and other tools used by the officer.  These machines must be properly maintained and calibrated in order to ensure their accuracy.  Without such maintenance, their results can be called into question, resulting in dismissals or significantly reduced charges.  A tenacious Virginia DUI attorney may be able to find issues with a DUI charge and get these charges dismissed.

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