Virginia motorists who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs are subject to some to the strictest DUI laws in the country. If they are convicted of a DUI charge, they risk being incarcerated and assessed court fines. A conviction can also negatively affect how much they have to pay for their vehicle insurance and whether they can obtain a security clearance.
According the Virginia Code Section 18.2-266, it is illegal to drive while intoxicated. The commonwealth of Virginia determines whether someone is drunk driving by assessing their blood alcohol concentration. The amount of alcohol in a person's blood is typically determined by having a chemical analysis conducted on their breath. The blood alcohol concentration limit in Virginia is 0.08.
Viginia differs from the majority of other states by having reduced legal limits for two unique groups of drivers. For drivers who are under the age of 21, the BAC is 0.02. Drivers who possess a commercial driver's license have a BAC limit of 0.04.
In order to prove that an individual is guilty of a DWI, authorities have to first show that the individual was operating a motor vehicle, which can include mopeds, trucks, SUVs, cars, motorcycles and lawn tractors. The commonwealth also has to show that at least one of the five factors in Virginia law were present. Three of the factors pertain to driving under the influence while the remaining two address specific blood alcohol concentrations.
A criminal law attorney may advise clients who have been charged with DUI offenses about their legal options. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the attorney may attempt to obtain reduced charges and penalties. The attorney could also engage in litigation to prove the innocence of a client and have the charges dropped.