The Commonwealth of Virginia can bring stiff penalties to bear for a DUI conviction, depending on the results of your breath test.
However, are breath tests always accurate? Your defense may focus on challenging those results.
Looking at the law
In Virginia, a judge can convict you for driving under the influence of alcohol if you have a blood alcohol content level of 0.08% or above. Even if you are a first-time offender, you will pay a minimum $250 fine, and you are looking at a driver’s license revocation for up to one year. Restricted driving privileges are possible, but as a condition, the court may order you to have an ignition interlock device installed on any vehicle you drive—and if the court does not order an IID, the Department of Motor Vehicles will. For license reinstatement to occur, you must enter an Alcohol Safety Action Program, or ASAP, through which you will either report to alcohol treatment or education. As a first-time offender, you can expect to remain on probation for a year, and Virginia ASAP will ensure your compliance if the court or DMV orders you to have an IID.
Challenging breathalyzer results
When law enforcement arrests a driver on suspicion of DUI, the defense will begin with questioning the administration of a breath test because problems are not uncommon. For example, a breathalyzer must have proper calibration, and the solution responsible for determining BAC accuracy must be refreshed on schedule and not allowed to expire. Other questions may come up:
- Was the officer who administered the breath test trained properly?
- Was the test administered properly?
- Was the breathalyzer cleaned between uses and properly stored?
- Were test results recorded accurately?
Regaining your life
An arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol is an experience you would rather not have. Keep in mind that you have rights that require protection. Arrests are not always conducted perfectly, and breath tests are not always accurate.