Understanding DUI Charges in Virginia
In the State of Virginia, there are two ways that a driver can violate a DUI law. The first is a DUI per se, which is when someone is driving, and their chemical test is over .08. DUI is when someone is driving, and an officer determines that someone is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. This occurs through the use of law enforcement field sobriety tests. For a DUI per se, a prosecutor must prove that you drove your car when your capacity to drive was diminished by the use of drugs and/or alcohol. This doesn’t require a BAC of .08. The second only requires them to prove that your BAC was .08 or higher. The legal limit for commercial drivers is .04 percent and for those under 21, .02%.
A first-time DUI in the state is considered a Class 1 Misdemeanor. This results in a fine of $250-$2,500 and up to one year of a license suspension. For those arrested with a BAC of .15 or higher, a minimum five-day jail sentence may apply as well as a possible jail sentence of up to 30 days. If you’ve been convicted of a DUI-related offense, you are required to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle you intend to drive or currently drive, which will control the driving of the vehicle based on tests that you are not under the influence before driving the car. More serious penalties will occur if a child was in the car, you refused to submit to a chemical test, there was some type of injury or property damage, or you were under 21 at the time of the DUI arrest.
Common DUI Charges Defenses
A DUI defense attorney can investigate different defenses in order to help clients to get reduced or dismissed charges when applicable. Some possible DUI defenses that can be used include:
- No probable cause: Police can only legally detain and arrest for DUI when there is probable cause that one is drunk.
- Breathalyzer Error: Equipment malfunction or even misuse can lead to a false positive reading.
- Wasn’t driving: If the defendant didn’t drive or had no intention of driving, they may be able to beat their DUI charge.