Facing charges related to driving under the influence can be very stressful. If you’re a driver who lives in Virginia, you should be aware of the state’s DUI laws to understand your rights and responsibilities. Like other states, Virginia has specific guidelines for law enforcement to follow when they believe someone is driving while intoxicated. But drivers also have some protection when suspected of driving under the influence.
Drunk driving by the numbers
In Virginia, the laws surrounding drunk driving are some of the strictest in the nation. These laws may also apply to driving while under the influence of drugs. Drivers with a blood alcohol level, or BAC, of .08 or higher are driving under the influence.
Drivers under the age of 21 are subject to stricter laws. A driver under the age of 21 can receive charges for illegal consumption of alcohol with a BAC between .02 and .08. A conviction for someone so young could impact job prospects and educational opportunities.
The consequences of a conviction
If you’re facing your first DUI charge, you could lose your driver’s license for up to a year. Some convictions also come with a mandatory ignition interlock device that you must install once you get your license back. A second conviction can mean you lose your driver’s license for up to three years. A second conviction within five years requires 20 days in jail. If you’re involved in a DUI-related collision, a judge may also order you to pay restitution.
Avoiding alcohol-related crashes
Statistically, alcohol-related fatalities in car accidents have decreased over the past 30 years in Virginia, but it’s still important for drivers to be safe. You may feel safe driving after only having a small amount of alcohol, but buzzed driving can also be problematic. A BAC of just .02 can affect your vision and judgment, making it harder to drive safely. A BAC of .05 can reduce your ability to make quick decisions and track other objects on the road.
The penalties for a DUI conviction are serious and can significantly change your life. When a court convicts you of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may lose your job, and it can also negatively impact your personal life. If you are facing a DUI charge in Virginia, it’s important that you know there is legal help available. By working with an experienced attorney who has knowledge of the state’s DUI laws, you can prepare a defense based on your individual circumstances.