Virginia Beach ranks among the country’s top 10 communities for people convicted of drunk driving, according to one report by an insurance quote company. The city comes in at No. 10 on a list ranking urban areas by the number of drivers who have gotten DUIs on their records. Local officials said that they were troubled but not surprised by the result, noting that there are a large number of drunk driving arrests that take place every year in the city. In addition, local police often focus heavily on sobriety checkpoints and other tactics that lead to more drunk-driving arrests.
Officials emphasized that DUI enforcement is a major priority for Virginia Beach police, indicating that the ranking may not necessarily indicate a higher number of drunk drivers but a higher number of arrests. The city operates frequent checkpoints that test each passing driver for intoxication. In addition, it has a 10-person special operations team that rotates DUI enforcement duties on a regular basis. It also receives an additional grant from the Virginia DMV every year that pays overtime wages for 30 police to dedicate time exclusively to drunk driving enforcement.
Therefore, officials argued that their position on the list was a sign of the high level of enforcement that takes place in the city. Even in cities where drunk driving is a priority, police still must have reasonable suspicion of a crime before pulling someone over, except at sobriety checkpoints. These suspicions could include driving behavior, such as weaving in and out of lanes.
Individuals who have been accused of drunk driving can face severe consequences, including driver’s license suspension, heavy fines or even jail time. Someone facing DUI charges can work with a criminal defense attorney to challenge police evidence and aim to avoid a conviction.