The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle's website boasts that Virginia has some of the toughest laws in the nation regarding driving under the influence (DUI). For this reason, a large number of defendants face DUI charges in the state every day. The state defines DUI as operating a motor vehicle, boat, or water craft with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08% or higher. It sometimes only takes one or two drinks to reach .08% depending on factors such as your size, the strength of the drink, and the time of consumption. Furthermore, even if your BAC is lower than .08%, an officer still has the discretion to charge you with DUI if he believes your ability to operate the vehicle is impaired. This caveat is important because if you accidentally swerve or forget to turn on your lights, officers have the power to arrest if they believe you have been drinking no matter what your BAC results say. If you find yourself arrested or charged with DUI, you should contact a Fairfax DUI lawyer as soon as possible.
All DUI convictions in Virginia result in a substantial fine and loss of your driver's license for at least one year. The state also has some other specific provisions of DUI law of which citizens may not be aware. Those convicted of DUI are required to successfully complete the Alcohol Safety Action Program. This is a probation program where the person is required to take ten classes of instruction on alcohol and drug education. There is a fee of approximately $400 for this program, and the person enrolled is subject to drug and alcohol testing and probation monitoring.
Those convicted of DUI are given a 12 month suspension of their drivers license. The court may issue a restricted license to someone whose license was suspended as a result of a DUI conviction. However, the Court will require the person to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed as a condition of the restricted license. The person will have to give a mouth breath sample to the device before the vehicle will start. This is supposed to ensure that the person has not consumed alcohol before operating the vehicle. There is a substantial expense for the Ignition Interlock Device installation, and the company that installs the machine charges monthly monitoring and compliance fees.
Those convicted of DUI with a BAC over .15% face minimum, mandatory jail time of at least five days. For some people, it only takes 3-4 drinks to reach .15%. A BAC over .20% carries a minimum, mandatory 10 days jail time. This means that if you spend several hours at a bar or party and decide to drive home, you could end up spending time behind bars.
Multiple DUI convictions also carry harsh penalties, including jail time for a year or more and possible permanent revocation of your license. If you are charged with a third (or more) DUI within a five or ten year period, you will not be granted bail while you await trial. This is a felony offense and the individual charged could be in jail for months without even a conviction.
Contact a Fairfax DUI Lawyer Today
If you are charged with DUI in Virginia, you want to avoid conviction at all costs. Conviction can cause license suspension, fines, jail time, higher insurance rates, and possible loss of employment in some industries. You should call a Fairfax DUI lawyer as soon as possible so he can start working on your case and building a strong defense to prevent conviction.