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A Look at DUI Laws in Virginia

Law enforcement officers in Virginia have no tolerance for drunk driving, with good reason. Drunk drivers claim the lives of thousands each year and cause countless additional injuries. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy for a person to determine when he or she has had too much to drink before getting behind the wheel. If you’re facing DUI charges, your first call should be to a criminal defense or auto accident attorney. Your criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the criminal justice system and fight to uphold your legal rights.

Defining DUI

In most cases, a driver in Virginia can be charged with DUI for having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. However, commercial drivers can be charged for a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher and individuals who are below the legal drinking age can be charged with a BAC as low as 0.02 percent.

Refusing a Chemical Test

Virginia is an implied consent state, which means that if you drive on roadways within the state, you are automatically presumed to have given your consent for a chemical test. If you refuse a chemical test to check your BAC, you face automatic penalties. These include the automatic suspension of your driver's license and substantial fines. A first offense can lead to a license suspension of one year.

Considering a Plea Bargain

Your criminal defense attorney may negotiate for a plea bargain on your behalf. You may be able to plead guilty to a “wet reckless” offense, for example. The court is not required to offer a plea bargain, but may be more likely to do so if your alleged drunk driving did not result in an accident.

Facing the Penalties

If a plea bargain is not forthcoming and you are convicted on DUI charges, you can expect harsh penalties. In Virginia, a first DUI conviction results in a mandatory minimum of five days in jail, at least $250 in fines, and driver’s license suspension of one year. Additional convictions lead to harsher penalties.

Everyone is entitled to competent legal representation. If you’ve been arrested on suspicion of DUI in the Woodbridge, VA area, contact a criminal defense attorney at (703) 670-0761. Johnson Law Firm, PC has been providing effective legal advocacy services for 10 years, including drug possession attorney services and auto accident attorney services.

Categories: DUI/DWI