Yes, you can be charged with drunk driving in Virginia even if your blood alcohol content was below 0.08%.
If your blood alcohol content is 0.08% or higher, then there is a legal presumption that you were intoxicated and the Commonwealth may have an easier time proving its case against you. However, you may still face criminal charges with a lower blood alcohol content.
DUI With a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.07% or 0.06%
The Commonwealth may charge you with drunk driving if you have a blood alcohol content of 0.07% or 0.06%, but the government will likely need to present additional evidence that your driving was impaired by alcohol. Without the presumption of intoxication that comes with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher, the government may need to show that you were slurring your words, unsteady, or unable to pass standard field sobriety tests to get a conviction.
DUI With a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.05% or Less
The government’s case against you is even more challenging if you have a blood alcohol content of less than 0.06% and you are 21 or older. While the government can still pursue criminal DUI charges against you, it will need convincing evidence that you were driving while intoxicated unless you are under the age of 21.
A different law applies to drivers under the age of 21. According to Virginia Code §18.2-266.1, it is unlawful for anyone under the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle after illegally consuming alcohol. A blood alcohol content of just 0.02% gives the government a presumption that a driver under 21 is drunk, and an underage driver may be convicted without the government presenting any additional evidence.
Don’t Leave a Drunk Driving Charge to Chance
The penalties for drunk driving in Virginia can be significant. Even if you had a blood alcohol content of less than 0.08%, we encourage you to consult an experienced Fairfax DUI defense lawyer to make sure that your rights are protected and that you are treated fairly. Please call us or complete our contact form to learn more.