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Virginia is hard on people who drink and drive: Defend yourself

The state of Virginia is particularly hard on those who choose to drink and driver. If you're stopped and accused of drinking and driving or breaking other drinking and driving laws, it's important that you defend yourself. Don't admit to anything, because your penalty could be decided based on the things you say at this moment, especially if you admit to wrongdoing.

To start with, you can be charged with drinking and driving if you're stopped and have an open container of alcohol in your passenger area. If anything in your vehicle is a sign that you may have been drinking, you can be charged by police.

Another thing to understand is that you don't get to request a blood test instead of a breath test. If you refuse to take a breath test, you can be convicted of a breath test refusal, which automatically results in losing your license for one year. You also can't get a restricted license during this time, so refusing your breath test could result in difficulties getting to work or school if you need to drive to get there.

For a first-time DUI offense, Virginia fines you a minimum of $250 and revokes your license for a year. For a second offense, you could be put into jail for up to a year and have your license revoked for up to three years. On top of that, you could face a fine of at least $500, forcing you to pay for the court and police's time and effort. After a second offense, you'll be required to serve jail time, so it's wise to avoid any convictions when possible.

Source: Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, "Virginia is TOUGH on Drunk and Drugged Drivers," accessed Aug. 27, 2015

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