What Constitutes Driving Under the Influence in Virginia?
Driving under the influence (DUI) charges in the state of Virginia are legally determined with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher or by impairment of a drug. It is possible to be arrested with a lower BAC if law enforcement deems you are too impaired to be operating a vehicle. A DUI is typically a misdemeanor charge, but can be elevated based on other factors, including previous convictions, personal injuries, property damage, and more.
Law enforcement officials will perform field sobriety tests to determine if they think a driver is under the influence. They may also request a breath test. Individuals do have the right to refuse a breath test at the time they are pulled over. However, refusal can mean a one-year suspension of license, regardless of conviction. Additionally, even limited driving privileges are not available to anyone who refused a breath test.
Consequences of a Virginia DUI Conviction
The consequences for a DUI conviction in Fairfax and throughout Virginia can be severe, even if it is the first time you have been arrested. In addition to the frustration and embarrassment drivers often experience, other repercussions can include:
- Fines. Fines can range from $500 to $2,500 depending on your age and number of previous DUI convictions.
- Driver’s license revocation. Upon arrest, your license will be suspended for at least seven days. Conviction and subsequent arrests increase the revocation period, with serious offenders losing their driving privileges entirely.
- Jail time. Depending on the severity of your DUI charge and the number of previous DUI arrests, the charge can result in some jail time.
- Installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
- Vehicle Impoundment. If you are found guilty of a DUI and you drive your vehicle, the vehicle can be impounded. This will result in further fees and frustration.
- Mandatory alcohol treatment program. In many cases, in order to have your license reinstated, drivers will have to go through an alcohol treatment program of 20 hours at his or her own expense.
- Restitution. Depending on the exact location of the arrest, those charged can be held liable for the cost the community incurs in law enforcement, medical attention, property damage, and more.
In addition to these legal consequences, there are other practical concerns after a DUI charge. Often, a drunk driving conviction can have personal, employment, financial, and academic ramifications, as well. A lack of transportation, loss of income, reduction of scholarship money, and more can have a major impact on your livelihood, as well as your family.
Learn More About DUI / DWI Charges and Penalties for First, Second, Third & Fourth Offenses
All these potential consequences depend on the unique factors related to your specific case. They can be subjective, and a skilled attorney can help minimize these repercussions. If you are facing a DUI charge in Virginia, the Fairfax DUI lawyers at Greenspun Shapiro PC may be able to help. Call our Fairfax office today at 703-352-0100 to learn more about protecting your rights.
How Our Experienced Fairfax DUI Lawyers Can Help
Virginia DUI law is very complex, and the system is set up in a manner that can make it difficult for drivers to navigate. The Fairfax DUI lawyers at Greenspun Shapiro PC have helped many clients address their DUI or related charges to effectively minimize the negative consequences. A skilled lawyer can help clients:
- Investigate arrest
- Dispute field sobriety test results
- Interpret state law as applicable to your specific case
- Negotiate for dismissal or reduced charges
- Avoid jail time
- Negotiate for driving privileges
While not all of these are available for every case, our Fairfax DUI attorneys can examine your specific situation and work with you to determine how best to move forward to meet your personal goals. Our DUI lawyers can help you obtain the most favorable outcome possible in what can be one of the most trying times of your life. We can help you find the confidence and peace of mind you need by offering a practical, comprehensive view of DUI law in Virginia.
If you or someone you love has been charged with a DUI or related offense, the Fairfax DUI lawyers at Greenspun Shapiro PC may be able to help. Take a moment to fill out our online contact form, or call our Fairfax office at 703-352-0100 to get started protecting your rights today.