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Virginia penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2014 | Drunk Driving

Most Newport News drivers probably know the boundaries they cannot cross with alcohol while driving. Or, do they? In Virginia, the blood alcohol content level is 0.08 percent. You’re mistaken if you think you can’t be arrested with a BAC level below the legal limit.

A BAC level below 0.08 percent may not spare you from an OWI charge. Impairment may be based on a defendant’s behavior. Unlike DUI, impairment does not require a specific level of intoxication.

You may be charged with drinking and driving if an open, partially-empty container of alcohol is found in your vehicle during a traffic stop. A DUI charge may follow if a police officer has adequate reasons to believe you were drinking.

Refusing to take an alcohol breath test can have consequences separate from a DUI charge. A breath test refusal conviction can cause you to lose Virginia driving privileges for an entire year. During the suspension, you may not obtain a restricted driver’s license – one that you normally could use to at least drive to and from your job.

A Virginia defendant convicted of first-time DUI pays a fine of at least $250, the mandatory minimum. Your driver’s license can be suspended for one year. A DUI can go on your criminal record.

The minimum fine increases to $500 for a second DUI offense. A driver’s license suspension may last three years. In addition, jail time is possible for a period of up to one year.

A 10-day jail term is mandatory for second convictions within 10 years of the first offense. A driver’s license is revoked indefinitely with three DUIs convictions within 10 years. The third offense is a Class 6 felony.

We haven’t even touched on the consequences for drivers under 21 or additional conditions that result in DUI charges and penalties. Your concerns about alcohol-related offenses can be answered by a criminal defense attorney.


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